MNS1 Is Essential for Spermiogenesis and Motile Ciliary Functions in Mice

Department of Animal Biology, Center for Animal Transgenesis and Germ Cell Research, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America.
PLoS Genetics (Impact Factor: 7.53). 03/2012; 8(3):e1002516. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1002516
Source: PubMed


During spermiogenesis, haploid round spermatids undergo dramatic cell differentiation and morphogenesis to give rise to mature spermatozoa for fertilization, including nuclear elongation, chromatin remodeling, acrosome formation, and development of flagella. The molecular mechanisms underlining these fundamental processes remain poorly understood. Here, we report that MNS1, a coiled-coil protein of unknown function, is essential for spermiogenesis. We find that MNS1 is expressed in the germ cells in the testes and localizes to sperm flagella in a detergent-resistant manner, indicating that it is an integral component of flagella. MNS1-deficient males are sterile, as they exhibit a sharp reduction in sperm production and the remnant sperm are immotile with abnormal short tails. In MNS1-deficient sperm flagella, the characteristic arrangement of "9+2" microtubules and outer dense fibers are completely disrupted. In addition, MNS1-deficient mice display situs inversus and hydrocephalus. MNS1-deficient tracheal motile cilia lack some outer dynein arms in the axoneme. Moreover, MNS1 monomers interact with each other and are able to form polymers in cultured somatic cells. These results demonstrate that MNS1 is essential for spermiogenesis, the assembly of sperm flagella, and motile ciliary functions.

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    • "A recently characterized flagellar protein, meiosis-specific nuclear structural 1 (MNS1), is abundantly expressed in post-meiotic spermatids and is required for proper flagellar formation and function [1]. Male mice deficient in MNS1 display decreased sperm production and are sterile because their sperm are immotile. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Cilia and the sperm flagellum share many structural properties. Meiosis-specific nuclear structural 1 (MNS1) is a recently characterized protein that is abundantly expressed in post-meiotic spermatids and is required for proper flagellar and motile cilia formation. To explore the possible functions of MNS1, we performed a BLAST search and determined it is homologous to the conserved domain pfam13868, exemplified by mitostatin. This protein interacts with mitofusin 2 (MFN2), a protein that participates in regulating mitochondrial associations to subcellular organelles. We hypothesized that an association between MFN2 and MNS1 in the sperm is involved in flagellar biogenesis and function. Results In the studies reported here, MFN2 was found in murine reproductive and somatic tissues high in ciliary content while MNS1 was present as two closely migrating bands in reproductive tissues. Interestingly, mitostatin was also present in reproductive tissues. Similar to Mns1 and mitostatin, Mfn2 was expressed in the testis as detected by RT-PCR. In addition, Mfn2 and Mns1 decreased in expression from pachytene spermatocytes to condensing spermatids as assessed by quantitative RT-PCR. Co-immunoprecipitation demonstrated an association between MFN2 and MNS1 in spermatogenic cells. Indirect immunofluorescence indicated that MFN2 and MNS1 co-localized to the sperm flagellum in freshly collected cauda epididymal sperm. MFN2 associated with the midpiece while MNS1 was present throughout the sperm tail in caput and cauda epididymal sperm. In spermatogenic cells, MFN2 was seen in the mitochondria, and MNS1 was present throughout the cell cytoplasm. MFN2 and MNS1 were present in detergent-resistant flagellar structures of the sperm. Conclusions These results demonstrate that MFN2 and MNS1 are present in spermatogenic cells and are an integral part of the sperm flagellum, indicating they play a role in flagellar biogenesis and/or function.
    Cilia 05/2014; 3(1):5. DOI:10.1186/2046-2530-3-5
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    • "Although the molecular mechanisms underlying flagellum formation are poorly understood, many studies from KO mouse models have begun to uncover genes essential for this process [5], [37]. Among them some genes are also responsible for other ciliary defects, as shown in the cases of Bbs2-, Mkks-, Mns-1- and Kif3a-deficient mouse models [14], [19], [38], [39]. In this report, we demonstrated that Iqcg, which first attracted our attention for its involvement of chromosome translocation of human leukemia, was critical for spermiogenesis in mice, especially for the flagellum formation. "
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    ABSTRACT: Mammalian spermatogenesis comprises three successive phases: mitosis phase, meiosis phase, and spermiogenesis. During spermiogenesis, round spermatid undergoes dramatic morphogenesis to give rise to mature spermatozoon, including the condensation and elongation of nucleus, development of acrosome, formation of flagellum, and removal of excessive cytoplasm. Although these transformations are well defined at the morphological level, the mechanisms underlying these intricate processes are largely unknown. Here, we report that Iqcg, which was previously characterized to be involved in a chromosome translocation of human leukemia, is highly expressed in the spermatogenesis of mice and localized to the manchette in developing spermatids. Iqcg knockout causes male infertility, due to severe defects of spermiogenesis and resultant total immobility of spermatozoa. The axoneme in the Iqcg knockout sperm flagellum is disorganized and hardly any typical ("9+2") pattern of microtubule arrangement could be found in Iqcg knockout spermatids. Iqcg interacts with calmodulin in a calcium dependent manner in the testis, suggesting that Iqcg may play a role through calcium signaling. Furthermore, cilia structures in the trachea and oviduct, as well as histological appearances of other major tissues, remain unchanged in the Iqcg knockout mice, suggesting that Iqcg is specifically required for spermiogenesis in mammals. These results might also provide new insights into the genetic causes of human infertility.
    PLoS ONE 05/2014; 9(5):e98053. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0098053 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "Protein lysates were separated on 10% SDS-PAGE gel and electro-blotted on PVDF membranes. The primary antibodies used for western blot analysis were anti-STK31 GP79 (this study), anti-DDX4 (a gift from T. Noce) [40], anti-ACTB (Sigma-Aldrich), and anti-MNS1 UP2060 [41]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Tudor domain containing (Tdrd) proteins that are expressed in germ cells are divided into two groups. One group, consisting of TDRD1, TDRKH, TDRD9 and TDRD12, function in piRNA biogenesis and retrotransposon silencing, while the other group including RNF17/TDRD4 and TDRD5-7 are required for spermiogenesis. These Tdrd proteins play distinct roles during male germ cell development. Here, we report the characterization of STK31/TDRD8 in mice. STK31 contains a tudor domain and a serine/threonine kinase domain. We find that STK31 is a cytoplasmic protein in germ cells. STK31 is expressed in embryonic gonocytes of both sexes and postnatal spermatocytes and round spermatids in males. Disruption of the tudor domain and kinase domain of STK31 respectively does not affect fertility in mice. Our data suggest that the function of STK31 may be redundant with other Tdrd proteins in germ cell development.
    PLoS ONE 02/2014; 9(2):e89471. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0089471 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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