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Spe-12 encodes a sperm cell surface protein that promotes spermiogenesis in Caenorhabditis elegans.


ABSTRACT: During spermiogenesis, Caenorhabditis elegans spermatids activate and mature into crawling spermatozoa without synthesizing new proteins. Mutations in the spe-12 gene block spermatid activation, rendering normally self-fertile hermaphrodites sterile. Mutant males, however, are fertile. Surprisingly, when mutant hermaphrodites mate with a male, their self-spermatids activate and form functional spermatozoa, presumably due to contact with male seminal fluid. Here we show that, in addition to its essential role in normal activation of hermaphrodite-derived spermatids, SPE-12 also plays a supplementary but nonessential role in mating-induced activation. We have identified the spe-12 gene, which encodes a novel protein containing a single transmembrane domain. spe-12 mRNA is expressed in the sperm-producing germ line and the protein localizes to the spermatid cell surface. We propose that SPE-12 functions downstream of both hermaphrodite- and male-derived activation signals in a spermatid signaling pathway that initiates spermiogenesis.

SUBMITTER: Nance J 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC1460590 | BioStudies | 1999-01-01T00:00:00Z

SECONDARY ACCESSION(S): U57624

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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