Spermatogenesis is briefly defined as the production of mature spermatozoa from spermatogonial stem cells at the end of a strictly regulated process. It is well known that, to a large extent, transcriptional activity ceases at mid-spermiogenesis. Several mRNAs transcribed during early stages of spermatogenesis are stored as ribonucleoproteins (RNPs). During the later stages, translational control of these mRNAs is mainly carried out in a time dependent-manner by poly(A)-binding proteins (PABPs) in cooperation with other RNA-binding proteins and translation-related factors. Conserved PABPs specifically bind to poly(A) tails at the 3' ends of mRNAs to regulate their translational activity in spermatogenic cells. Studies in this field have revealed that PABPs, particularly poly(A)-binding protein cytoplasmic 1 (Pabpc1), Pabpc2, and the embryonic poly(A)-binding protein (Epab), play roles in the translational regulation of mRNAs required at later stages of spermatogenesis. In this review article, we evaluated the spatial and temporal expression patterns and potential functions of these PABPs in spermatogenic cells during spermatogenesis. The probable relationship between alterations in PABP expression and the development of male infertility is also reviewed.
Keywords: Male infertility; Poly(A)-binding protein (PABP); Spermatogenesis; Translational control.