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, 115 (Pt 24), 4819-26

Essential Role of Citron Kinase in Cytokinesis of Spermatogenic Precursors


Essential Role of Citron Kinase in Cytokinesis of Spermatogenic Precursors

Ferdinando Di Cunto et al. J Cell Sci.


During spermatogenesis, the first morphological indication of spermatogonia differentiation is incomplete cytokinesis, followed by the assembly of stable intercellular cytoplasmic communications. This distinctive feature of differentiating male germ cells has been highly conserved during evolution, suggesting that regulation of the cytokinesis endgame is a crucial aspect of spermatogenesis. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying testis-specific regulation of cytokinesis are still largely unknown. Citron kinase is a myotonin-related protein acting downstream of the GTPase Rho in cytokinesis control. We previously reported that Citron kinase knockout mice are affected by a complex neurological syndrome caused by cytokinesis block and apoptosis of specific neuronal precursors. In this report we show that, in addition, these mice display a dramatic testicular impairment, with embryonic and postnatal loss of undifferentiated germ cells and complete absence of mature spermatocytes. By contrast, the ovaries of mutant females appear essentially normal. Developmental analysis revealed that the cellular depletion observed in mutant testes is caused by increased apoptosis of undifferentiated and differentiating precursors. The same cells display a severe cytokinesis defect, resulting in the production of multinucleated cells and apoptosis. Our data indicate that Citron kinase is specifically required for cytokinesis of the male germ line.

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