Katanin-like 2 (KATNAL2) functions in multiple aspects of haploid male germ cell development in the mouse

PLoS Genet. 2017 Nov 14;13(11):e1007078. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1007078. eCollection 2017 Nov.


The katanin microtubule-severing proteins are essential regulators of microtubule dynamics in a diverse range of species. Here we have defined critical roles for the poorly characterised katanin protein KATNAL2 in multiple aspects of spermatogenesis: the initiation of sperm tail growth from the basal body, sperm head shaping via the manchette, acrosome attachment, and ultimately sperm release. We present data suggesting that depending on context, KATNAL2 can partner with the regulatory protein KATNB1 or act autonomously. Moreover, our data indicate KATNAL2 may regulate δ- and ε-tubulin rather than classical α-β-tubulin microtubule polymers, suggesting the katanin family has a greater diversity of function than previously realised. Together with our previous research, showing the essential requirement of katanin proteins KATNAL1 and KATNB1 during spermatogenesis, our data supports the concept that in higher order species the presence of multiple katanins has allowed for subspecialisation of function within complex cellular settings such as the seminiferous epithelium.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / genetics
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / metabolism
  • Amino Acid Sequence / genetics
  • Animals
  • Germ Cells / metabolism
  • Haploidy
  • Infertility, Male / metabolism
  • Katanin / genetics
  • Katanin / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Seminiferous Epithelium / metabolism
  • Spermatogenesis / genetics
  • Spermatozoa / metabolism
  • Testis / metabolism
  • Tubulin / metabolism


  • Protein Isoforms
  • Tubulin
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases
  • KATNAL2 protein, mouse
  • Katanin

Grant support

The project was funded by an Australian Research Council of Australia Discovery Grant to MKO (DP160100647). MKO is the recipient of a National Health and Medical Research Council Fellowship (APP1058356). HO was funded by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Research Fellowship for Young Scientists. JEMD was the recipient of an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship. MB received was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), as part of an International Research Training Group project. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.