Sam68 regulates translation of target mRNAs in male germ cells, necessary for mouse spermatogenesis

Maria Paola Paronetto, Valeria Messina, Enrica Bianchi, Marco Barchi, Gillian Vogel, Costanzo Moretti, Fioretta Palombi, Mario Stefanini, Raffaele Geremia, Stéphane Richard, Claudio Sette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sam68 is a KH-type RNA-binding protein involved in several steps of RNA metabolism with potential implications in cell differentiation and cancer. However, its physiological roles are still poorly understood. Herein, we show that Sam68 -/- male mice are infertile and display several defects in spermatogenesis, demonstrating an essential role for Sam68 in male fertility. Sam68 -/- mice produce few spermatozoa, which display dramatic motility defects and are unable to fertilize eggs. Expression of a subset of messenger mRNAs (mRNAs) is affected in the testis of knockout mice. Interestingly, Sam68 is associated with polyadenylated mRNAs in the cytoplasm during the meiotic divisions and in round spermatids, when it interacts with the translational machinery. We show that Sam68 is required for polysomal recruitment of specifc mRNAs and for accumulation of the corresponding proteins in germ cells and in a heterologous system. These observations demonstrate a novel role for Sam68 in mRNA translation and highlight its essential requirement for the development of a functional male gamete.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-249
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 20 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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