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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Tyrosine protein kinases and spermatogenesis: truncation matters.

Protein phosphorylation on serine/threonine or tyrosine residues represents a significant regulatory mechanism in signal transduction during spermatogenesis, oogenesis, and fertilization. There are several families of tyrosine protein kinases operating during spermatogenesis: the Src family of tyrosine protein kinases; the Fujinami poultry sarcoma/feline sarcoma (Fps/Fes) and Fes-related protein (Fer) subfamily of non-receptor proteins; and c-kit, the transmembrane tyrosine kinase receptor that belongs to the family of the PDGF receptor. A remarkable characteristic is the coexistence of full-length and truncated tyrosine kinases in testis. Most of the truncated forms are present during spermiogenesis. Examples include the truncated forms of Src tyrosine kinase hematopoietic cell kinase (Hck), FerT, and tr-kit. A feature of FerT and tr-kit is the kinase domain that ensures the functional properties of the truncated protein. FerT, a regulator of actin assembly/disassembly mediated by cortactin phosphorylation, is present in the acroplaxome, a cytoskeletal plate containing an F-actin network and linking the acrosome to the spermatid nuclear envelope. This finding suggests that Fer kinase represents one of the tyrosine protein kinases that may contribute to spermatid head shaping. The c-kit ligand, stem cell factor ( SCF), which induces c-kit dimerization and autophosphorylation, exists as both membrane-associated and soluble. Although tyrosine protein kinases are prominent in spermatogenesis, a remarkable observation is the paucity of phenotypic alterations in spermatogenic cells in male mice targeted with Fer kinase-inactivating mutation. It is possible that the redundant functions of the tyrosine protein kinase pool present during spermatogenesis may explain the limited phenotypes of single mutant mice. The production of compound and viable mutant mice, lacking the expression of two or more tyrosine kinases, may shed light on this intriguing issue.[1]


  1. Tyrosine protein kinases and spermatogenesis: truncation matters. Kierszenbaum, A.L. Mol. Reprod. Dev. (2006) [Pubmed]
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