PRAME belongs to a group of cancer/testis antigens (CTAs) that are characterized by their restricted expression in normal gametogenic tissues and a variety of tumors. The PRAME family is one of the most amplified gene families in the mouse and other mammalian genomes. Members of the PRAME gene family encode leucine-rich repeat (LRR) proteins functioning as transcription regulators in cancer cells. However, the role of PRAME in normal gonads is unknown. The objective of this study is to characterize the temporal and spatial expression of the mouse Pramel1 gene, and to determine the cellular localization of the PRAMEL1 protein during the mouse spermatogenesis. Our results indicated that the mouse Pramel1 was expressed in testis only. The mRNA and protein expression level was low in the newborn testes, and gradually increased from 1- to 3-week-old testes, and then remained constant after three weeks of age. Immunofluorescent staining on testis sections with the mouse PRAMEL1 antibody revealed that PRAMEL1 was localized in the cytoplasm of spermatocytes and the acrosomal region of round, elongating and elongated spermatids. Further analyses on the testis squash preparation and spermatozoa at a subcellular level indicated that the protein localization patterns of PRAMEL1 were coordinated with morphological alterations during acrosome formation in spermatids, and were significantly different in connecting piece, middle piece and principal piece of the flagellum between testicular and epididymal spermatozoa. Collectively, our results suggest that PRAMEL1 may play a role in acrosome biogenesis and sperm motility.
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