Expression and function of beta-1,4-galactosyltransferase during wild-type and T/t -mutant spermatogenesis

Sana Abuhamad Pratt, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


In the mouse, gamete recognition is mediated in part by the binding of sperm surface $\beta$1,4 galactosyltransferase (GalTase) to specific oligosaccharide residues on the zona pellucida ZP3. The expression of GalTase on the sperm surface is regulated by alleles within the distal segment of the T/t complex and results in a haploid-specific increase in GalTase expression on spermatids and sperm from t-bearing males, suggesting that differences in sperm GalTase activity may contribute to t-sperm transmission ratio distortion. In this study, the expression of GalTase RNA during wild-type and T/t-mutant spermatogenesis was characterized and the role of GalTase was analyzed in transmission ratio distortion. It was found that spermatogenic cells predominantly express the long form of the GalTase RNA, which encodes the GalTase protein that is preferentially targeted to the cell surface in somatic cells. In wild-type testes, GalTase RNA accumulates during the maturation of primary spermatocytes, reaches peak levels prior to meiosis, and decreases and meiosis. GalTase RNA accumulates to similar levels during the maturation of +/t and t/t primary spermatocytes, but unlike wild-type, the level of GalTase RNA in t-spermatocytes remains elevated during meiotic division. Consequently, spermatids in t-mutant testes inherit higher levels of GalTase RNA than do wild-type spermatids, which likely accounts for the haploid-specific increase in surface GalTase activity characteristic of spermatids from t-bearing mice. The functional significance of the increased GalTase activity during t-sperm transmission ratio distortion was determined by examining the distribution of GalTase RNA and surface GalTase protein in haploid spermatids from +/t males. Results show that +- and t-spermatids have similar levels of both GalTase RNA and protein, indicating that transmission ratio distortion in +/t mice is not likely due to haploid-specific differences in sperm surface GalTase activity. The presence of GalTase on the surface of an early spermatogenic cells before it is required on the mature sperm to perform its function during gamete binding suggests a separate function for GalTase in Sertoli-germ cell adhesion. Studies indicate that cell surface GalTase partly mediates the initial adhesion of pachytene spermatocytes, but not haploid spermatids, to Sertoli cells.

Subject Area

Molecular biology|Cellular biology|Genetics

Recommended Citation

Pratt, Sana Abuhamad, "Expression and function of beta-1,4-galactosyltransferase during wild-type and T/t -mutant spermatogenesis" (1992). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9238499.