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Developmental stage-specific expression of cyclic adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate response element-binding protein CREB during spermatogenesis involves alternative exon splicing.
Publication types: Journal Article
Spermatogenesis is a temporally regulated developmental process by which the gonadotropin-responsive somatic Sertoli and Leydig cells act interdependently to direct the maturation of the germinal cells. The metabolism of Sertoli and Leydig cells is regulated by the pituitary gonadotropins FSH and LH, which, in turn, activate adenylate cyclase. Because the cAMP-second messenger pathway is activated by FSH and LH, we postulated that the cAMP-responsive element-binding protein (CREB) plays a physiological role in Sertoli and Leydig cells, respectively. Immunocytochemical analyses of rat testicular sections show a remarkably high expression of CREB in the haploid round spermatids and, to some extent, in pachytene spermatocytes and Sertoli cells. Although most of the CREB antigen is detected in the nuclei, some CREB antigen is also present in the cytoplasm. Remarkably, the cytoplasmic CREB results from the translation of a unique alternatively spliced transcript of the CREB gene that incorporates an exon containing multiple stop codons inserted immediately up-stream of the exons encoding the DNA-binding domain of CREB. Thus, the RNA containing the alternatively spliced exon encodes a truncated transcriptional transactivator protein lacking both the DNA-binding domain and nuclear translocation signal of CREB. Most of the CREB transcripts detected in the germinal cells contain the alternatively spliced exon, suggesting a function of the exon to modulate the synthesis of CREB. In the Sertoli cells we observed a striking cyclical (12-day periodicity) increase in the levels of CREB mRNA that coincides with the splicing out of the restrictive exon containing the stop codons. Because earlier studies established that FSH-stimulated cAMP levels in Sertoli cells are also cyclical, and the CREB gene promoter contains cAMP-responsive enhancers, we suggest that the alternative RNA splicing controls a positive autoregulation of CREB gene expression mediated by cAMP.
Animals, Base Sequence, Blotting, Northern, Cloning, Molecular, Codon, Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein, DNA-Binding Proteins, Exons, Humans, Introns, Kinetics, Leydig Cells, Male, Molecular Sequence Data, Nucleic Acid Hybridization, Oligodeoxyribonucleotides, Polymerase Chain Reaction, RNA, RNA Splicing, Rats, Sertoli Cells, Spermatids, Spermatogenesis, Testis, Transcription Factors, Transcription, Genetic
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