Tudor domain containing 7 (Tdrd7) is essential for dynamic ribonucleoprotein (RNP) remodeling of chromatoid bodies during spermatogenesis

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Jun 28;108(26):10579-84. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1015447108. Epub 2011 Jun 13.


In the male germline in mammals, chromatoid bodies, a specialized assembly of cytoplasmic ribonucleoprotein (RNP), are structurally evident during meiosis and haploidgenesis, but their developmental origin and regulation remain elusive. The tudor domain containing proteins constitute a conserved class of chromatoid body components. We show that tudor domain containing 7 (Tdrd7), the deficiency of which causes male sterility and age-related cataract (as well as glaucoma), is essential for haploid spermatid development and defines, in concert with Tdrd6, key biogenesis processes of chromatoid bodies. Single and double knockouts of Tdrd7 and Tdrd6 demonstrated that these spermiogenic tudor genes orchestrate developmental programs for ordered remodeling of chromatoid bodies, including the initial establishment, subsequent RNP fusion with ubiquitous processing bodies/GW bodies and later structural maintenance. Tdrd7 suppresses LINE1 retrotransposons independently of piwi-interacting RNA (piRNA) biogenesis wherein Tdrd1 and Tdrd9 operate, indicating that distinct Tdrd pathways act against retrotransposons in the male germline. Tdrd6, in contrast, does not affect retrotransposons but functions at a later stage of spermiogenesis when chromatoid bodies exhibit aggresome-like properties. Our results delineate that chromatoid bodies assemble as an integrated compartment incorporating both germline and ubiquitous features as spermatogenesis proceeds and that the conserved tudor family genes act as master regulators of this unique RNP remodeling, which is genetically linked to the male germline integrity in mammals.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin / metabolism*
  • Chromosomes, Artificial, Bacterial
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Microscopy, Immunoelectron
  • Ribonucleoproteins / genetics
  • Ribonucleoproteins / metabolism*
  • Ribonucleoproteins / physiology
  • Spermatogenesis*


  • Chromatin
  • Ribonucleoproteins
  • TDRD7 protein, mouse