Identification and characterization of the antigen recognized by the germ cell mAb TRA98 using a human comprehensive wet protein array

Genes Cells. 2021 Mar;26(3):180-189. doi: 10.1111/gtc.12832.


TRA98 is a rat monoclonal antibody (mAb) which recognizes a specific antigen in the nuclei of germ cells. mAb TRA98 has been used to understand the mechanism of germ cell development and differentiation in many studies. In mice, the antigen recognized by mAb TRA98 or GCNA1 has been reported to be a GCNA gene product, but despite the demonstration of the immunoreactivity of this mAb in human testis and sperm in 1997, the antigen in humans remains unknown, as of date. To identify the human antigen recognized by mAb TRA98, a human comprehensive wet protein array was developed containing 19,446 proteins derived from human cDNAs. Using this array, it was found that the antigen of mAb TRA98 is not a GCNA gene product, but nuclear factor-κB activating protein (NKAP). In mice, mAb TRA98 recognized both the GCNA gene product and NKAP. Furthermore, conditional knockout of Nkap in mice revealed a phenotype of Sertoli cell-only syndrome. Although NKAP is a ubiquitously expressed protein, NKAP recognized by mAb TRA98 in mouse testis was SUMOylated. These results suggest that NKAP undergoes modifications, such as SUMOylation in the testis, and plays an important role in spermatogenesis.

Keywords: SUMOylation; cell-free protein expression; in vitro proteome; nuclear factor-κB activating protein; protein array; testis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / metabolism*
  • Antigens / metabolism*
  • Germ Cells / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Protein Array Analysis*
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism
  • Testis / metabolism


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens
  • NKAP protein, human
  • NKAP protein, mouse
  • Repressor Proteins