Altered testicular gene expression patterns in mice lacking the polyubiquitin gene Ubb

Mol Reprod Dev. 2011 Jun;78(6):415-25. doi: 10.1002/mrd.21318. Epub 2011 May 3.


Ubiquitin (Ub) is an essential protein found in all eukaryotic cells and plays important roles in a variety of cellular functions including germ cell development. We have previously reported that targeted disruption of the polyubiquitin gene Ubb results in male and female infertility in Ubb(-/-) mice, with germ cells arrested at meiotic prophase I. Although reduced Ub levels in germ cells are believed to be responsible for the fertility defect in Ubb(-/-) mice, it is still unclear how reduced Ub levels result in sterility. Here we describe the results of a microarray analysis of the murine testicular transcriptome, which demonstrates dramatically altered gene expression patterns in Ubb(-/-) mice, possibly related to reduced levels of histone 2A (H2A) ubiquitylation. We find that large numbers of genes related to fertility, metabolism, transcription, and the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) are misregulated in Ubb(-/-) mice. Such wide-ranging alterations in gene expression suggest that loss of the Ubb gene does not mimic a single-gene defect phenotype, but instead may affect gene expression more globally. These dramatic changes in gene expression could, at least in part, contribute to the complex fertility and metabolic phenotypes seen in these mice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Fertility / genetics
  • Gene Expression / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Germ Cells / physiology*
  • Histones / metabolism*
  • Infertility / genetics
  • Male
  • Meiotic Prophase I
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Microarray Analysis
  • Polyubiquitin / metabolism*
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex / genetics
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex / metabolism
  • Testis / metabolism*
  • Ubiquitin* / deficiency
  • Ubiquitin* / genetics
  • Ubiquitination / physiology


  • Histones
  • Ubb protein, mouse
  • Ubiquitin
  • Polyubiquitin
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex