Indexed on: 11 Aug '11Published on: 11 Aug '11Published in: Gene
Computational phylogenetic analysis coupled to promoter sequence alignment was used to understand mechanisms of transcriptional regulation and to identify potentially coregulated genes. Our strategy was validated on the human ANT4 gene which encodes the fourth isoform of the mitochondrial adenine nucleotide translocator specifically expressed during spermatogenesis. The movement of sperm flagella is driven mainly by ATP generated by glycolytic pathways, and the specific induction of the mitochondrial ANT4 protein presented an interesting puzzle. We analysed the sequences of the promoters, introns and exons of 30 mammalian ANT4 genes and constructed regulatory models. The whole human genome and promoter database were screened for genes that were potentially regulated by the generated models. 80% of the identified co-regulated genes encoded proteins with specific roles in spermatogenesis and with functions linked to male reproduction. Our in silico study enabled us to precise the specific role of the ANT4 isoform in spermatozoid bioenergetics.