Testis-Specific Expression of the Nuclear Form of Phospholipid Hydroperoxide Glutathione Peroxidase (PHGPx)

S. G. Moreno, G. Laux, M. Brielmeier, G. W. Bornkamm and M. Conrad


The selenoprotein phospholipid hydroperoxide glutathione peroxidase (PHGPx) is present in at least three different isoforms in testis: as a cytosolic, as a mitochondrial, and as a nuclear protein. We have recently shown that a sperm nucleus-specific glutathione peroxidase (snGPx) is identical to the mitochondrial and cytosolic forms of PHGPx apart from its N-terminus. This arginine-rich N-terminus of snGPx, reminiscent of protamines, is encoded by an alternative exon located in the first intron of the PHGPx gene and is responsible for nuclear localisation and chromatin binding of snGPx [Pfeifer et al., FASEB J. 15 (2001), pp. 1236-1238]. By using a combination of techniques including selective cloning of mRNA 5' ends, RT-PCR, and S1 analyses, we provide evidence that the transcript encoding the nuclear form is generated by transcription initiation at an alternative promoter and not by alternative splicing. We show that the major transcription start region is located at 12 to 14 upstream of the AUG translation initiation site of the sperm nucleus-specific exon and lacks a TATA box. Two minor TATA-less transcription initiation sites are located at around -30 and -45. We have shown by in situ hybridisation that snGPx expression in testis, like protamine expression, is restricted to late stages of spermatogenesis whereas PHGPx expression is only found in spermatocytes and early spermatids. These findings have to be taken into account when studying either the differential regulation of PHGPx and snGPx expression in testis or the impact of putative mutations in snGPx on male fertility in man.

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Biological Chemistry keeps you up-to-date with the latest advances in the molecular life sciences. The journal publishes Research Articles, Short Communications, Reviews and Minireviews. Areas include: general biochemistry/pathobiochemistry, structural biology, molecular and cellular biology, genetics and epigenetics, virology, molecular medicine, plant molecular biology/biochemistry and novel experimental methodologies.