Involvement of a Tissue-Specific RNA Recognition Motif Protein in Drosophila Spermatogenesis

Mol Cell Biol. 1997 May;17(5):2708-15. doi: 10.1128/mcb.17.5.2708.


RNA binding proteins mediate posttranscriptional regulation of gene expression via their roles in nuclear and cytoplasmic mRNA metabolism. Many of the proteins involved in these processes have a common RNA binding domain, the RNA recognition motif (RRM). We have characterized the Testis-specific RRM protein gene (Tsr), which plays an important role in spermatogenesis in Drosophila melanogaster. Disruption of Tsr led to a dramatic reduction in male fertility due to the production of spermatids with abnormalities in mitochondrial morphogenesis. Tsr is located on the third chromosome at 87F, adjacent to the nuclear pre-mRNA binding protein gene Hrb87F. A 1.7-kb Tsr transcript was expressed exclusively in the male germ line. It encoded a protein containing two RRMs similar to those found in HRB87F as well as a unique C-terminal domain. TSR protein was located in the cytoplasm of spermatocytes and young spermatids but was absent from mature sperm. The cellular proteins expressed in premeiotic primary spermatocytes from Tsr mutant and wild-type males were assessed by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. Lack of TSR resulted in the premature expression of a few proteins prior to meiosis; this was abolished by a transgenic copy of Tsr. These data demonstrate that TSR negatively regulated the expression of some testis proteins and, in combination with its expression pattern and subcellular localization, suggest that TSR regulates the stability or translatability of some mRNAs during spermatogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Male
  • Microfilament Proteins / genetics
  • Microfilament Proteins / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Phenotype
  • RNA / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Spermatogenesis / genetics*
  • Testis / metabolism


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • tsr protein, Drosophila
  • RNA

Associated data

  • GENBANK/U18401