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The expression pattern and potential functions of PHB in the spermiogenesis of Phascolosoma esculenta

Hou, Cong-Cong, Gao, Xin-Ming, Ni, Jie, Mu, Dan-Li, Yang, Hai-Yan, Liu, Cheng, Zhu, Jun-Quan
Gene 2018 v.652 pp. 25-38
animals, genes, hydrophobicity, mitochondria, mitochondrial membrane, protein structure, proteins, spermatozoa, spermiogenesis, ubiquitination
Prohibitin (PHB) is a ubiquitous, evolutionarily conserved protein that is mainly localized in the inner mitochondrial membrane and exerts various mitochondrial functions. Here, we first cloned the phb gene from P. esculenta. The Pe-PHB protein has high homology and a similar protein structure to that of other animals, and it can be divided into the N-terminal hydrophobic/transmembrane domain, SPFH domain, and C-terminal coiled-coil domain. The Pe-phb gene is widely expressed, and the gene expression of phb is highest in coelomic fluid where spermiogenesis occurs, indicating a specific function in the coelom. We further observed continuous expression of the phb gene and localization of PHB proteins in mitochondria during spermiogenesis, indicating that PHB, as a mitochondrial component, may play a role during this process via its mitochondrial function. In addition, ubiquitination of mitochondria was detected, and the PHB signal was co-localized with the poly-ubiquitin signal during spermiogenesis. Mature sperm also showed ubiquitination of mitochondria and PHB. Therefore, PHB may be a substrate of poly-ubiquitin to regulate the ubiquitination of mitochondria and even subsequent elimination during P. esculenta spermiogenesis, and it has a potential role in guaranteeing the maternal inheritance of mitochondria. Taken together, these results support the hypothesis that PHB participates in the spermiogenesis of P. esculenta by maintaining the normal function of mitochondria and regulating the degradation of mitochondria.