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

Acrogranin, an acrosomal cysteine-rich glycoprotein, is the precursor of the growth-modulating peptides, granulins, and epithelins, and is expressed in somatic as well as male germ cells.

Spermatogenesis is a unique system of differentiation involving cellular remodeling and the biogenesis of sperm-specific organelles. To study the biogenesis of one such organelle, the acrosome, we have been examining the gene expression, biosynthesis, and targeting of specific acrosomal proteins during mammalian spermatogenesis. An acrosomal marker that we recently purified and began characterizing is acrogranin, a 67,000-molecular-weight glycoprotein originally isolated from guinea pig testes. This glycoprotein is detected in pachytene spermatocytes and is found later in the acrosomes of developing spermatids and sperm. Immunoblotting of several tissues and immunofluorescent localization in frozen sections of guinea pig testes suggested that acrogranin was a germ cell-specific glycoprotein that was expressed meiotically and post-meiotically. However, Northern blot analysis demonstrated that the mRNA for acrogranin was ubiquitously expressed in all guinea pig and mouse tissues examined. Furthermore, the primary structures of guinea pig and mouse acrogranins, deduced from the cDNA sequences, reveal that this glycoprotein is a cysteine-rich molecule with a motif that is tandemly repeated seven times, very similar to that of the human epithelin/ granulin precursor. We conclude that guinea pig and mouse acrogranins are homologues of the precursor of the human and rat epithelin/ granulin peptides previously demonstrated to have growth-modulating properties.[1]


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