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Joanna Korfanty, Agnieszka Toma, Aleksandra Wojtas, Aleksandra Rusin, Natalia Vydra, and Wieslawa Widlak

The binding of capacitated spermatozoa to the egg's extracellular coat and induction of acrosome reaction are necessary for successful fertilization in mammals. Biogenesis of acrosome is complicated, and not all proteins involved in this process are known. In this study, we have cloned a novel mouse gene, Spaca7, that is expressed exclusively in the testes. During the postnatal development, transcripts of the gene could be detected at a very low level in 18-day-old mouse testes and at a higher level in 21-day-old mouse testes and later, which corresponds to an expansion of round spermatids. In the stably transfected PT67 cells, SPACA7 fused with EGFP was predominantly localized in the Golgi apparatus. In transgenic mouse testes, the fusion protein was found in acrosome (starting from the first stages of acrosome formation in late pachytene spermatocytes and finally in spermatozoa isolated from caput and cauda of epididymis). Confocal microscopy studies revealed an intra-acrosomal not membrane-bound localization of SPACA7/EGFP, which suggests that the protein can be released during acrosome reaction and involved in fertilization. Acrosomal localization of endogenous SPACA7 protein was also found in human spermatozoa.

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Joanna Korfanty, Tomasz Stokowy, Marek Chadalski, Agnieszka Toma-Jonik, Natalia Vydra, Piotr Widłak, Bartosz Wojtaś, Bartłomiej Gielniewski, and Wieslawa Widlak

SPEN (spen family transcription repressor) is a nucleic acid-binding protein putatively involved in repression of gene expression. We hypothesized that SPEN could be involved in general downregulation of the transcription during the heat shock response in mouse spermatogenic cells through its interactions with chromatin. We documented predominant nuclear localization of the SPEN protein in spermatocytes and round spermatids, which was retained after heat shock. Moreover, the protein was excluded from the highly condensed chromatin. Chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments clearly indicated interactions of SPEN with chromatin in vivo. However, ChIP-Seq analyses did not reveal any strong specific peaks both in untreated and heat shocked cells, which might suggest dispersed localization of SPEN and/or its indirect binding to DNA. Using in situ proximity ligation assay we found close in vivo associations of SPEN with MTA1 (metastasis-associated 1), a member of the nucleosome remodeling complex with histone deacetylase activity, which might contribute to interactions of SPEN with chromatin.