Systematic variation in mRNA 3'-processing signals during mouse spermatogenesis

Nucleic Acids Res. 2007;35(1):234-46. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkl919. Epub 2006 Dec 8.


Gene expression and processing during mouse male germ cell maturation (spermatogenesis) is highly specialized. Previous reports have suggested that there is a high incidence of alternative 3'-processing in male germ cell mRNAs, including reduced usage of the canonical polyadenylation signal, AAUAAA. We used EST libraries generated from mouse testicular cells to identify 3'-processing sites used at various stages of spermatogenesis (spermatogonia, spermatocytes and round spermatids) and testicular somatic Sertoli cells. We assessed differences in 3'-processing characteristics in the testicular samples, compared to control sets of widely used 3'-processing sites. Using a new method for comparison of degenerate regulatory elements between sequence samples, we identified significant changes in the use of putative 3'-processing regulatory sequence elements in all spermatogenic cell types. In addition, we observed a trend towards truncated 3'-untranslated regions (3'-UTRs), with the most significant differences apparent in round spermatids. In contrast, Sertoli cells displayed a much smaller trend towards 3'-UTR truncation and no significant difference in 3'-processing regulatory sequences. Finally, we identified a number of genes encoding mRNAs that were specifically subject to alternative 3'-processing during meiosis and postmeiotic development. Our results highlight developmental differences in polyadenylation site choice and in the elements that likely control them during spermatogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • 3' Untranslated Regions / chemistry
  • Animals
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Expressed Sequence Tags / chemistry
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Polyadenylation*
  • RNA 3' Polyadenylation Signals*
  • RNA, Messenger / chemistry
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Spermatogenesis / genetics*
  • Testis / metabolism*
  • mRNA Cleavage and Polyadenylation Factors / metabolism


  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • RNA, Messenger
  • mRNA Cleavage and Polyadenylation Factors