Preferentially expressed antigen in melanoma (PRAME) is cancer/testis antigen and a transcriptional repressor, inhibiting the signaling of retinoic acid through the retinoic acid receptor (RAR) for promoting cell proliferation and preventing cell apoptosis in cancer cells. The role of PRAME in testis and germline is unknown. We report here the generation and characterization of an X-linked Prame conditional knockout (cKO) mouse. Although fertile, the testis size (p <.01) and sperm count (p <.05) of the Prame cKO mice were significantly reduced by 12% at 4 months of age compared with the Prame floxed mice. Histological, immunofluorescence with germ cell-specific markers and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling analyses of testis cross-sections at postnatal day 7 (P7), P14, P21, P35, P120, and P365 indicated a significant increase in apoptotic germ cells at P7 and P14 and an increase in abnormal seminiferous tubules at P21 and P35. Germ cells were gradually lost resulting in two different phenotypes in the Prame cKO testes: Sertoli-cell-only for some of the affected tubules in young mice (at P35) and germ cell arrest at spermatogonia stage for other affected tubules in mature mice. Both phenotypes were a consequence of disruption in RAR signaling pathway by the depletion of Prame at a different time point during the first and subsequent rounds of spermatogenesis. The results suggest that Prame plays a minor, but important role in spermatogenesis and different paralogs in the Prame gene family may be functionally and partially redundant.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental Biology
- Cell Biology