One of the more dramatic examples of cellular reorganization occurs during spermiogenesis in which a roughly spherical spermatid is transformed into a mature sperm cell. A highlight of this process involves nuclear remodeling whereby the round spermatid nucleus is sculpted into an elongated and polar structure. This transformation in nuclear architecture features chromatin condensation, changes in the composition and organization of the nuclear lamina and redistribution and elimination of nuclear pore complexes. The manchette, a cytoplasmic microtubule-based structure is thought to play a crucial role in the remodeling process. Here we show that SUN4, a spermatid nuclear membrane protein has an essential function in coupling the manchette to the nuclear periphery. In the absence of SUN4, manchette microtubules appear highly disorganized and the nucleus itself fails to elongate. Consequently, mice deficient in SUN4 display globozoospermia with associated infertility.
Keywords: LINC complex; Nuclear envelope; SUN protein; Spermiogenesis.
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