Molecular mechanisms of male germ cell differentiation

Bioessays. 1998 Jul;20(7):555-61. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1521-1878(199807)20:7<555::AID-BIES6>3.0.CO;2-J.


During spermatogenesis, diploid stem cells differentiate, undergo meiosis, and transform into haploid spermatozoa. As this precisely timed series of events proceeds, chromosomal ploidy is reduced and the nucleosomes of the chromatin are replaced by a transcriptionally quiescent protamine-containing nucleus. The premature termination of transcription during the haploid phase of spermatogenesis necessitates an especially prominent role for posttranscriptional regulation in the temporal and spatial expression of many testis-specific proteins and isozymes. In this review article, discussion will focus on novel mechanisms regulating gene expression in mammalian male germ cells from genome to protein.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Chromatin / genetics
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / genetics
  • Male
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • Spermatogenesis / genetics
  • Spermatozoa / cytology*
  • Spermatozoa / metabolism
  • Testis / metabolism


  • Chromatin
  • Isoenzymes