Tektins comprise a family of filament-forming proteins that are known to be coassembled with tubulins to form ciliary and flagellar microtubules. Recently we described the sequence of the first mammalian tektin protein, Tekt1 (from mouse testis), which is most homologous with sea urchin tektin C. We have now investigated the temporal and spatial expression of Tekt1 during mouse male germ cell development. By in situ hybridization analysis TEKT1 RNA expression is detected in spermatocytes and in round spermatids in the mouse testis. Immunofluorescence microscopy analysis with anti-Tekt1 antibodies showed no distinct labeling of any subcellular structure in spermatocytes, whereas in round spermatids anti-Tekt1 antibodies co-localize with anti-ANA antibodies to the centrosome. At a later stage, elongating spermatids display a larger area of anti-Tekt1 staining at their caudal ends; as spermiogenesis proceeds, the anti-Tekt1 staining disappears. Together with other evidence, these results provide the first intraspecies evidence that Tekt1 is transiently associated with the centrosome, and indicates that Tekt1 is one of several tektins to participate in the nucleation of the flagellar axoneme of mature spermatozoa, perhaps being required to assemble the basal body.
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Acknowledgements. We thank Li Yuan for technical assistance and Mathias Uhlen for valuable discussions. This work was supported by the Swedish Natural Science Research Council, the Swedish Research Council for Engineering Sciences, the European Community (The BIOTECH Programme, BIO4 CT960183), Pharmacia Corporation and the Karolinska Institutet; and by National Science Foundation Grant DBI-9602237, March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation Grant FY96 – 0741, Minnesota Medical Foundation Grant SMF-155 – 95, and a grant for University of Minnesota/Karolinska Faculty Collaboration.