Calcium and cyclic nucleotides are second messengers that regulate the development and functional activity of spermatozoa. Calcium/calmodulin-dependent phosphodiesterases (CaM-PDEs) are abundant in testicular cells and in mature spermatozoa and provide one means by which calcium regulates cellular cyclic nucleotide content. We examined the spatial and temporal expression profiles of three knownCaM-PDE genes, PDE1A, PDE1B, and PDE1C, in the testis. In situ hybridization and immunofluorescent staining showed that both PDE1A and PDE1C are highly expressed but at different stages in developing germ cells. However, a very low hybridization signal of PDE1B exists uniformly throughout the seminiferous epithelium and the interstitium. More specifically, PDE1A mRNA is found in round to elongated spermatids, with protein expression in the tails of elongated and maturing spermatids. In contrast, PDE1C mRNA accumulates during early meiotic prophase and throughout meiotic and postmeiotic stages. Immunocytochemistry showed a diffuse, presumably cytosolic distribution of the expressed protein. The distinct spatial and temporal expression patterns of CaM-PDEs suggest important but different physiological roles for these CaM-PDEs in developing and mature spermatozoa.
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