Several endocrine and neuronal functions are governed by the cAMP-dependent signalling pathway. In eukaryotes, transcriptional regulation upon stimulation of the adenylyl cyclase signalling pathway is mediated by a family of cAMP-responsive nuclear factors. The CREM gene plays a key physiological and developmental role within the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. CREM is highly expressed in postmeiotic cells upon a striking developmental switch regulated by the pituitary hormone FSH. CREM-mutant mice generated by homologous recombination reveal that spermatogenesis stops at the first step of spermiogenesis. Late spermatids are completely absent while there is a significant increase in apoptotic germ cells. A series of post-meiotic germ cell-specific genes are not expressed. Mutant male mice completely lack spermatozoa. This phenotype is reminiscent of cases of human infertility.
Copyright 1998 Academic Press.