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Spermiogenesis initiation in Caenorhabditis elegans involves a casein kinase 1 encoded by the spe-6 gene
Genetics (2002)
  • Paul J Muhlrad, University of Arizona
  • Samuel Ward, University of Arizona
Immature spermatids from Caenorhabditis elegans are stimulated by an external activation signal to reorganize their membranes and cytoskeleton to form crawling spermatozoa. This rapid maturation, termed spermiogenesis, occurs without any new gene expression. To better understand this signal transduction pathway, we isolated suppressors of a mutation in the spe-27 gene, which is part of the pathway. The suppressors bypass the requirement for spe-27, as well as three other genes that act in this pathway, spe-8, spe-12, and spe-29. Eighteen of the suppressor mutations are new alleles of spe-6, a previously identified gene required for an early stage of spermatogenesis. The original spe-6 mutations are loss-of-function alleles that prevent major sperm protein (MSP) assembly in the fibrous bodies of spermatocytes and arrest development in meiosis. We have isolated the spe-6 gene and find that it encodes a predicted protein-serine/threonine kinase in the casein kinase 1 family. The suppressor mutations appear to be reduction-of-function alleles. We propose a model whereby SPE-6, in addition to its early role in spermatocyte development, inhibits spermiogenesis until the activation signal is received. The activation signal is transduced through SPE-8, SPE-12, SPE-27, and SPE-29 to relieve SPE-6 repression, thus triggering the formation of crawling spermatozoa.
Publication Date
May, 2002
Citation Information
Paul J Muhlrad and Samuel Ward. "Spermiogenesis initiation in Caenorhabditis elegans involves a casein kinase 1 encoded by the spe-6 gene" Genetics Vol. 161 Iss. 1 (2002)
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