Distribution of sperm antigen 6 (SPAG6) and 16 (SPAG16) in mouse ciliated and non-ciliated tissues
The cilia and flagella of eukaryotic cells serve many functions, exhibiting remarkable conservation of both structure and molecular composition in widely divergent eukaryotic organisms. SPAG6 and SPAG16 are the homologous in the mice to Chlamydomonas reinhardtii PF16 and PF20. Both proteins are associated with the axonemal central apparatus and are essential for ciliary and flagellar motility in mammals. Recent data derived from high-throughput studies revealed expression of these genes in tissues that do not contain motile cilia. However, the distribution of SPAG6 and SPAG16 in ciliated and non-ciliated tissues is not completely understood. In this work, we performed a quantitative analysis of the expression of Spag6 and Spag16 genes in parallel with the immune-localization of the proteins in several tissues of adult mice. Expression of mRNA was higher in the testis and tissues bearing motile cilia than in the other analyzed tissues. Both proteins were present in ciliated and non-ciliated tissues. In the testis, SPAG6 was detected in spermatogonia, spermatocytes, and in the sperm flagella whereas SPAG16 was found in spermatocytes and in the sperm flagella. In addition, both proteins were detected in the cytoplasm of cells from the brain, spinal cord, and ovary. A small isoform of SPAG16 was localized in the nucleus of germ cells and some neurons. In a parallel set of experiments, we overexpressed EGFP-SPAG6 in cultured cells and observed that the protein co-localized with a subset of acetylated cytoplasmic microtubules. A role of these proteins stabilizing the cytoplasmic microtubules of eukaryotic cells is discussed.
KeywordsCilia Axonemal proteins Spermatogenesis Motility
Funding for this work was provided by Fogarty International Center ‘National Institutes of Health’ Grant RO1TW006223. We thank Dr. Zhibing Zhang for kindly provide SPAG16 antibodies and María del Pilar Irigoyen (Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de la República) for her technical assistance.
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