Indexed on: 25 Sep '99Published on: 25 Sep '99Published in: Molecular Reproduction and Development
There is considerable evidence that germ cells, mainly spermatocytes and spermatids, contribute to the regulation of Sertoli cell activity. We developed an in vitro system to investigate the genes involved in Sertoli cell-germ cell interaction in the mouse by using the differential mRNA display technique. One of the isolated differentially expressed genes, named calgizzarin, belongs to the family of S100 calcium-binding proteins and shows a decreased expression in Sertoli cell-germ cell cocultures compared to cultured Sertoli cells alone. Calgizzarin is expressed in all adult tissues examined, including testis and ovary; however, a high mRNA level for calgizzarin in mouse testis is maintained until day 15 of postnatal development and then declines dramatically, whereas the expression pattern in the ovary remains constantly high. Furthermore, Northern blot studies on testicular RNA from different mouse mutants with defects in spermatogenesis revealed that high levels of calgizzarin transcripts can only be detected in testes of mouse mutants with either no germ cells or primary spermatocytes, but only weak signals for calgizzarin are observed in testes of mutants containing spermatids. In addition, using both RT-PCR analysis and whole-mount in situ hybridization on dissected gonads it was demonstrated that mouse calgizzarin expression starts at 13.5 dpc in the prenatal male gonad and at 16.5 dpc in the embryonic ovary, respectively. The mouse calgizzarin gene was localized on mouse chromosome 5, region E-F. Taken together, our results indicate that calgizzarin expression could be repressed by factors originated from pachytene spermatocytes and/or spermatids.