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


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



Cell Death and Differentiation 8(3): 225-233



ISSN/ISBN: 1350-9047

PMID: 11319605

DOI: 10.1038/sj.cdd.4400799

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 -/- 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-xL 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 -/- animals.

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Accession: 071581723

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