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

The mouse transcription factor Stat4 is expressed in haploid male germ cells and is present in the perinuclear theca of spermatozoa.

STAT (signal transducer and activator of transcription) proteins have been shown to be essential transcription factors which mediate biological effects of cytokines. Although most of the STATs have been shown to be widely expressed, Stat4 mRNA has been detected in only a few tissues, including the testis. In the present study, immunoblot analysis confirmed that the presence of Stat4 protein was similarly restricted, with the highest level observed in testis. In situ hybridization, immunoblot, and immunohistochemistry analyses revealed that in the testis, Stat4 was abundantly and exclusively expressed in male germ cells which have completed meiosis, at the round and elongating spermatid stages. Cytolocalization at various times of spermatid differentiation showed that the level of Stat4 protein increased in parallel in both cytoplasm and nuclei. No specific nuclear translocation that would have been an indicator of Stat4 activation was observed at any stage of spermatogenic differentiation. Interestingly, the Stat4 transcription factor was localized to the condensing perinuclear theca of spermatids, a localization that was confirmed by selective biochemical extraction of thecal proteins. Since the theca is known to depolymerize in the cytoplasm of the oocyte during the hours following fertilization, we hypothesized that sperm Stat4 would represent an original paternal contribution to the fertilized egg which may be involved in the onset of zygotic transcription.[1]


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