Differential regulation of human and mouse telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) promoter activity during testis development

Authors

  • J.M. Weise,

    1. Heinrich-Pette-Institute for Experimental Virology and Immunology at the University of Hamburg, Department of Tumor Virology, Hamburg, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Ç. GüneŞ

    Corresponding author
    1. Heinrich-Pette-Institute for Experimental Virology and Immunology at the University of Hamburg, Department of Tumor Virology, Hamburg, Germany
    • Heinrich-Pette-Institute for Experimental Virology and Immunology at the University of Hamburg, Department of Tumor Virology, Martinistrasse 52, 20251 Hamburg, Germany.
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

In adult testis, telomerase activity is exclusively detectable during the early steps of spermatogenesis and is downregulated during differentiation to spermatozoa. Knowledge about telomerase activity during testis development from birth to adulthood is still scarce. Telomerase activity is regulated primarily via the transcriptional initiation of TERT expression which encodes its catalytic subunit. We used the hTERTp-lacZ transgenic mouse model that expresses the bacterial lacZ reporter gene under the control of an 8.0-kbp human TERT promoter fragment to analyze simultaneously endogenous mouse Tert gene expression as well as human TERT promoter activity during mouse testis development. We show that human TERT promoter activity increased during puberty and was highest in adult mouse testis whereas mouse Tert expression and telomerase activity were found to be high in testis from the earliest time point tested (6 days postpartum). Histological analysis revealed that β-galactosidase expression, encoded by the lacZ reporter gene, is present in all seminiferous tubules in adult testis, but in a subset of tubules before puberty. We further analyzed the expression of SCF/ c-KIT, which was described to regulate spermatogonia proliferation and mouse Tert expression, in prepubertal and adult testis by immunohistochemistry. Whereas SCF and c-KIT were detectable in all seminiferous tubules, a spatial and preclusive expression pattern of human TERT promoter activity and activated c-KIT (p-c-KIT Tyr 567/569) was observed in prepubertal testes. Mol. Reprod. Dev. 76: 309–317, 2009. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Ancillary