, Volume 62, Issue 3, pp 344-354

Gene expression in spermiogenesis

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Abstract.

Germ cells convey parental genes to the next generation, and only germ cells perform meiosis, which is a mechanism that preserves the parental genes. The fusion of the products of germ cell meiosis, the haploid sperm and egg, creates the next generation. Sperm are the haploid germ cells that contribute genes to the egg. In preparation for this, the haploid round spermatids produced by meiosis undergo drastic morphological changes to become sperm. During this process of spermiogenesis, the nuclear form of the haploid germ cell takes shape, the mitochondria are rearranged in a specific manner, the flagellum develops and the acrosome forms. Spermatogenesis is supported by precise and orderly regulation of gene expression during the changes in chromatin structure, when protamine replaces histone. In this report, we summarize the molecular mechanisms involved in spermiogenesis.

Received 2 September 2004; received after revision 7 October 2004; accepted 7 October 2004