Evidence that Mothers-against-dpp-related 1 (Madr1) plays a role in the initiation and maintenance of spermatogenesis in the mouse.
We have cloned a mouse cDNA encoding a Mothers-against-dpp (MAD)-related protein, MADR1. Madr1 is ubiquitously expressed in the mouse embryo, indicating a broad function in a variety of tissue during embryogenesis, potentially relaying signals of numerous BMPs. However, its expression in the testis is strictly germ cell-specific and developmentally regulated. Testicular Madr1 expression starts in some seminiferous tubules at 2 weeks of age. After mid-puberty, a stage-specific Madr1 expression is established. During the cycling of the seminiferous epithelium, Madr1 expression initiates in the pachytene spermatocytes of stage V seminiferous tubules, peaks at stage X, then decreases as pachytene spermatocytes differentiate into secondary spermatocytes and then round spermatids. In the testis of adult Bmp8b homozygous mutant males, the Madr1- expressing pachytene spermatocytes are the first cell population to show increased apoptosis. These data suggest that MADR1 serves as a downstream component of the BMP8 signaling pathway during the differentiation of meiotic male germ cells.
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