Differential patterns of regulated gene expression in the adult rat epididymis

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1991;637:384-98. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.1991.tb27324.x.


Specialization among the principal epithelial cells of the epididymal tubule is documented following the analysis of transcriptional activity of four distinct species of mRNA. In situ histochemical analysis revealed a unique pattern of expression for each transcript. This observation supports the concept that region-specific patterns of transcriptional expression along the epididymal tubule serve as the major molecular basis underlying region-specific patterns of luminal proteins within the tubule. Additionally, multiple testicular factors appear to regulate expression of these mRNAs. The transcript encoding peptidyl-prolyl cis-trans isomerase is constitutively expressed. Those encoding the major secretory proteins, protein B/C and protein D/E, are directly regulated by testicular androgen. That encoding the opioid peptide precursor, proenkephalin, is regulated by a non-androgen testicular factor(s), specifically, spermatozoa or a spermatozoa-related factor. Thus, a complex array of nuclear events and signals received by the principal cells serve to determine the transcriptional status of genes expressed within this epididymal cell type.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Enkephalins / biosynthesis
  • Epididymis / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Male
  • Protein Precursors / biosynthesis
  • Rats
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Enkephalins
  • Protein Precursors
  • proenkephalin