Gene Expr Patterns 2004 May;4(3):267-81
Dipartimento di Sanita Pubblica e Biologia Cellulare, Sezione di Anatomia, Universita di Roma Tor Vergata, Via Montpellier 1, 00133 Rome, Italy.
Wide genome analysis of difference in gene expression between spermatogonial populations from 7-day-old mice and pachytene spermatocytes from 18-day-old mice was performed using Affymetrix gene chips representing approximately 12,500 mouse known genes or EST sequences, spanning approximately 1/3rd of the mouse genome. To delineate differences in the profile of gene expression between mitotic and meiotic stages of male germ cell differentiation, expressed genes were grouped in functional clusters. The analysis confirmed the previously described pre-meiotic or meiotic expression for several genes, in particular for those involved in the regulation of the mitotic and meiotic cell cycle, and for those whose transcripts are accumulated during the meiotic stages to be translated later in post-meiotic stages. Differential expression of several additional genes was discovered. In few cases (pro-apoptotic factors Bak, Bad and Bax), data were in conflict with the previously published stage-dependent expression of genes already known to be expressed in male germ cells. Northern blot analysis of selected genes confirmed the results obtained with the microarray chips. Six of these were novel genes specifically expressed in pachytene spermatocytes: a chromatin remodeling factor (chrac1/YCL1), a homeobox gene (hmx1), a novel G-coupled receptor for an unknown ligand (Gpr19), a glycoprotein of the intestinal epithelium (mucin 3), a novel RAS activator (Ranbp9), and the A630056B21Rik gene (predicted to encode a novel zinc finger protein). These studies will help to delineate the global patterns of gene expression characterizing male germ cell differentiation for a better understanding of regulation of spermatogenesis in mammals.