Developmental regulation of the bcl-2 family during spermatogenesis: Insights into the sterility of bcl-w-/- male mice

Meehan, T; Loveland, K L; de Kretser, D; Cory, S; Print, C G
March 2001
Cell Death & Differentiation;Mar2001, Vol. 8 Issue 3, p225
Academic Journal
Expression of bcl-w, a close relative of bcl-2 is essential for male fertility in mice. Although the initial wave of spermatogenesis in bcl-w -I- mice proceeds normally until 3- 4 weeks of age, adults fail to produce sperm. To clarify why bcl-w is essential for adult but not juvenile spermatogenesis, we investigated the expression pattern of eight bcl-2 family members. We found that both the level and pattern of expression varied in different cell types during juvenile and adult spermatogenesis. Anti-apoptotic genes bcl-w, bcl-2 and bcl-x[sub L] were all expressed in spermatogonia during juvenile spermatogenesis, but only bcl-w was detected in spermatogonia of adult mice. A similar shift was evident in Sertoli cells. This developmental regulation may co-ordinate physiological germ cell apoptosis in wild type mice and account for the time of onset for pathological germ cell apoptosis in bcl-w -Ianimals.


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