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Is transcription in sperm stationary or dynamic?

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      Transcriptional activity is repressed due to the packaging of sperm chromatins during spermiogenesis. The detection of numerous transcripts in sperm, however, raises the question whether transcriptional events exist in sperm, which has been the central focus of the recent studies. To summarize the transcriptional activity during spermiogenesis and in sperm, we reviewed the documents on transcript differences during spermiogenesis, in sperm with differential motility, before and after capacitation and cryopreservation. This will lay a theoretical foundation for studying the mechanism(s) of gene expression in sperm, and would be invaluable in making better use of animal sires and developing reproductive control technologies.

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      Most cited references 80

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      A novel class of small RNAs in mouse spermatogenic cells.

      Small noncoding RNAs, including small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and micro RNAs (miRNAs) of approximately 21 nucleotides (nt) in length, have emerged as potent regulators of gene expression at both transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels in diverse organisms. Here we report the identification of a novel class of small RNAs in the mouse male germline termed piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs). piRNAs are approximately 30 nt in length. They are expressed during spermatogenesis, mostly in spermatids. piRNAs are associated with MIWI, a spermatogenesis-specific PIWI subfamily member of the Argonaute protein family, and depend on MIWI for their biogenesis and/or stability. Furthermore, a subpopulation of piRNAs are associated with polysomes, suggesting their potential role in translational regulation.
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        Protamines and male infertility.

         Rafael Oliva (2015)
        Protamines are the major nuclear sperm proteins. The human sperm nucleus contains two types of protamine: protamine 1 (P1) encoded by a single-copy gene and the family of protamine 2 (P2) proteins (P2, P3 and P4), all also encoded by a single gene that is transcribed and translated into a precursor protein. The protamines were discovered more than a century ago, but their function is not yet fully understood. In fact, different hypotheses have been proposed: condensation of the sperm nucleus into a compact hydrodynamic shape, protection of the genetic message delivered by the spermatozoa, involvement in the processes maintaining the integrity and repair of DNA during or after the nucleohistone-nucleoprotamine transition and involvement in the epigenetic imprinting of the spermatozoa. Protamines are also one of the most variable proteins found in nature, with data supporting a positive Darwinian selection. Changes in the expression of P1 and P2 protamines have been found to be associated with infertility in man. Mutations in the protamine genes have also been found in some infertile patients. Transgenic mice defective in the expression of protamines also present several structural defects in the sperm nucleus and have variable degrees of infertility. There is also evidence that altered levels of protamines may result in an increased susceptibility to injury in the spermatozoan DNA causing infertility or poor outcomes in assisted reproduction. The present work reviews the articles published to date on the relationship between protamines and infertility.
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          The conserved transcriptome in human and rodent male gametogenesis.

          We report a cross-species expression profiling analysis of the human, mouse, and rat male meiotic transcriptional program, using enriched germ cell populations, whole gonads, and high-density oligonucleotide microarrays (GeneChips). Among 35% of the protein-coding genes present in rodent and human genomes that were found to be differentially expressed between germ cells and somatic controls, a key group of 357 conserved core loci was identified that displays highly similar meiotic and postmeiotic patterns of transcriptional induction across all three species. Genes known to be important for sexual reproduction are significantly enriched among differentially expressed core loci and a smaller group of conserved genes not detected in 17 nontesticular somatic tissues, correlating transcriptional activation and essential function in the male germ line. Some genes implicated in the etiology of cancer are found to be strongly transcribed in testis, suggesting that these genes may play unexpected roles in sexual reproduction. Expression profiling data further identified numerous conserved genes of biological and clinical interest previously unassociated with the mammalian male germ line.

            Author and article information

            [1) ]The Key Laboratory for Farm Animal Genetic Resources and Utilization of Ministry of Agriculture of China, Institute of Animal Science, Chinese Academy of Agriculture Sciences, Beijing 100193, China
            [2) ]Beijing Agricultural Vocation College, Beijing 102442, China
            Author notes
            Correspondence: D Wang (e-mail: dwangcn2002@ )
            J Reprod Dev
            J. Reprod. Dev
            The Journal of Reproduction and Development
            The Society for Reproduction and Development
            28 August 2017
            October 2017
            : 63
            : 5
            : 439-443
            28845020 5649092 2016-093 10.1262/jrd.2016-093
            ©2017 Society for Reproduction and Development

            This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (by-nc-nd) License. (CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0:

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