INVITED REVIEW
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 529-536

RNA binding proteins in spermatogenesis: an in depth focus on the Musashi family


1 School of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia
2 Anatomy and Neuroscience, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia

Correspondence Address:
Eileen A McLaughlin
School of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308
Australia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1008-682X.151397

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Controlled gene regulation during gamete development is vital for maintaining reproductive potential. During the complex process of mammalian spermatogenesis, male germ cells experience extended periods of the inactive transcription despite heavy translational requirements for continued growth and differentiation. Hence, spermatogenesis is highly reliant on mechanisms of posttranscriptional regulation of gene expression, facilitated by RNA binding proteins (RBPs), which remain abundantly expressed throughout this process. One such group of proteins is the Musashi family, previously identified as critical regulators of testis germ cell development and meiosis in Drosophila, and also shown to be vital to sperm development and reproductive potential in the mouse. This review describes the role and function of RBPs within the scope of male germ cell development, focusing on our recent knowledge of the Musashi proteins in spermatogenesis. The functional mechanisms utilized by RBPs within the cell are outlined in depth, and the significance of sub-cellular localization and stage-specific expression in relation to the mode and impact of posttranscriptional regulation is also highlighted. We emphasize the historical role of the Musashi family of RBPs in stem cell function and cell fate determination, as originally characterized in Drosophila and Xenopus, and conclude with our current understanding of the differential roles and functions of the mammalian Musashi proteins, Musashi-1 and Musashi-2, with a primary focus on our findings in spermatogenesis. This review highlights both the essential contribution of RBPs to posttranscriptional regulation and the importance of the Musashi family as master regulators of male gamete development.


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