Translational repression by MSY4 inhibits spermatid differentiation in mice
Braun, Robert E.
Davies, Holly G.
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In developing male germ cells, newly synthesized protamine mRNAs are stored for up to 7 days before translational activation. Translational repression of protamine 1 (Prm1) mRNA requires sequences present in its 3' untranslated region (UTR) and substantial evidence suggests a role for the murine Y-box protein MSY4 in this process. To determine if MSY4 can mediate translational repression in vivo, we generated transgenic mice in which the temporal window of MSY4 expression was extended during spermatogenesis. Expression of MSY4 disrupted the normal completion of spermatogenesis and caused dominant sterility. Immunocytochemical analysis of several markers, including the protamines, indicated that MSY4 prevented normal activation of translation. mRNAs whose translation was inhibited contained at least one MSY4 RNA recognition site, suggesting sequence-dependent translational repression. Altered translational activation resulted in defective processing of protamine 2 and severe defects in sperm morphogenesis. These results suggest that MSY4 plays an active role in translational repression of several mRNAs in differentiating spermatids.