Main content area

Novel localization of Aurora A kinase in mouse testis suggests multiple roles in spermatogenesis

Johnson, Marquita L., Wang, Rong, Sperry, Ann O.
Biochemical and biophysical research communications 2018 v.503 no.1 pp. 51-55
epididymis, flagellum, fluorescent antibody technique, male fertility, males, meiosis, mice, mitosis, sperm motility, spermatids, spermatocytes, spermatogenesis, spermatogonia, spermatozoa, stem cells, testes
Male germ cells are transformed from undifferentiated stem cells into spermatozoa through a series of highly regulated steps together termed spermatogenesis. Spermatogonial stem cells undergo mitosis and differentiation followed by two rounds of meiotic division and then proceed through a series of dramatic cell shape changes to form highly differentiated spermatozoa. Using indirect immunofluorescence, we investigated a role for the mitotic kinase, Aurora A (AURKA), in these events through localization of this protein in mouse testis and spermatozoa. AURKA is expressed in several cell types in the testis. Spermatogonia and spermatocytes express AURKA as expected based on the known role of this kinase in cell division. Surprisingly, we also found AURKA localized to spermatids and the flagellum of spermatozoa. Total AURKA and activated AURKA are expressed in different compartments of the sperm flagellum with total AURKA found in the principal piece and its phosphorylated and activated form found in the sperm midpiece. In addition, active AURKA is enriched in the flagellum of motile sperm isolated from cauda epididymis. These results provide evidence for a unique role for AURKA in spermatogenesis and sperm motility. Defining the signaling mechanisms that govern spermatogenesis and sperm cell function is crucial to understanding and treating male infertility as well as for development of new contraceptive strategies.