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Keywords:

  • development;
  • gene expression;
  • infertility;
  • nucleus;
  • signal transduction

Summary

Investigations into the RBM gene family are uncovering networks of protein interactions which regulate RNA processing, and which might operate downstream of signal transduction pathways. Similar pathways likely operate in germ cells and somatic cells, with RBMY, hnRNPGT and T-STAR proteins providing germ cell-specific components. These pathways may be important for normal germ cell development, and might be compromised in men with Y chromosome deletions affecting RBMY gene expression. The STAR proteins have multiple functions in pre-mRNA splicing, signalling and cell cycle control. These processes might have to be very finely regulated during germ cell development, which involves both two sequential meiotic divisions (meiosis I and II) as well as mitotic (spermatogonial) cell divisions, and which is controlled by paracrine signalling within the testis from Sertoli cells.