G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)
Chromatoid body mediated RNA regulation in mouse male germline

List of Authors: Meikar Oliver
Publisher: Turun yliopisto
Publication year: 2013
ISBN: 978-951-29-5622-7
eISBN: 978-951-29-5623-4


Male germ cell differentiation, spermatogenesis is an exceptional developmental process that produces a massive amount of genetically unique spermatozoa. The complexity of this process along with the technical limitations in the germline research has left many aspects of spermatogenesis poorly understood. Post-meiotic haploid round spermatids possess the most complex transcriptomes of the whole body. Correspondingly, efficient and accurate control mechanisms are necessary to deal with the huge diversity of transcribed RNAs in these cells. The high transcriptional activity in round spermatids is accompanied by the presence of an uncommonly large cytoplasmic ribonucleoprotein granule, called the chromatoid body (CB) that is conjectured to participate in the RNA post-transcriptional regulation. However, very little is known about the possible mechanisms of the CB function.

The development of a procedure to isolate CBs from mouse testes was this study’s objective. Anti-MVH immunoprecipitation of cross-linked CBs from a fractionated testicular cell lysate was optimized to yield considerable quantities of pure and intact CBs from mice testes. This protocol produced reliable and reproducible data from the subsequent analysis of CB’s protein and RNA components. We found that the majority of the CB’s proteome consists of RNA-binding proteins that associate functionally with different pathways. We also demonstrated notable localization patterns of one of the CB transient components, SAM68 and showed that its ablation does not change the general composition or structure of the CB. CB-associated RNA analysis revealed a strong accumulation of PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs), mRNAs and long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) in the CB. When the CB transcriptome and proteome analysis results were combined, the most pronounced molecular functions in the CB were related to piRNA pathway, RNA post-transcriptional processing and CB structural scaffolding. In addition, we demonstrated that the CB is a target for the main RNA flux from the nucleus throughout all steps of round spermatid development. Moreover, we provided preliminary evidence that those isolated CBs slice target RNAs in vitro in an ATPdependent


Altogether, these results make a strong suggestion that the CB functions involve RNA-related and RNA-mediated mechanisms. All the existing data supports the hypothesis that the CB coordinates the highly complex haploid transcriptome during the preparation of the male gametes for fertilization. Thereby, this study provides a fundamental basis for the future functional analyses of ribonucleoprotein granules and offers also important insights into the mechanisms governing male fertility.

Last updated on 2019-21-08 at 21:55