Spef1, a conserved novel testis protein found in mouse sperm flagella

Gene. 2005 Jul 4;353(2):189-99. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2005.04.025.


We describe the cloning and characterisation of Spef1, a novel testis-specific gene. Spef1 has evolutionary orthologues in a wide range of species including mammals, other vertebrates, Drosophila, and protozoans with motile cilia or flagella. A second homologue of the gene, Spef2, is also present in several species, suggesting that these genes form part of a novel gene family. The Spef1 protein has two conserved domains, one of which is more strongly conserved in both homologues of the gene. Expression analysis of Spef1 in mice shows that it is expressed predominantly in adult testis, suggesting a role in spermatogenesis. Using an antibody generated to recombinant Spef1, we demonstrate a specific pattern of Spef1 localisation in the seminiferous epithelium of adult mouse testis. Further immunohistochemical analysis using electron microscopy shows Spef1 to be present in the tails of developing and epididymal sperm, internal to the fibrous sheath and around the outer dense fibres of the sperm flagellum.

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA Primers
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Proteins / chemistry
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Recombinant Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Sperm Tail / metabolism*
  • Spermatogenesis
  • Testis / metabolism*


  • DNA Primers
  • Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Spef1 protein, mouse