Formation of the tail in developing sperm is a complex process involving the organization of the axoneme, transport of periaxonemal proteins from the cytoplasm to the tail, and assembly of the outer dense fibers and fibrous sheath. Although detailed morphological descriptions of these events are available, the molecular mechanisms remain to be fully elucidated. We have isolated a new gene, named shippo 1, from a haploid germ cell-specific cDNA library of mouse testis, and also its human orthologue (h-shippo 1). The isolated cDNA is 1.2 kilobases long, carrying a 762-base pair open reading frame that encodes SHIPPO 1, a sperm protein predicted to consist of 254 amino acids. The amino acid sequence includes 6 Pro-Gly-Pro repeats, which are also present in the human orthologue protein (hSHIPPO 1) as well as in 2 other newly reported proteins of Drosophila melanogaster. Transcription of shippo 1 is exclusively observed in haploid germ cells. Antibody raised against SHIPPO 1 identified a testis-specific Mr 32 × 10−3 band in Western blot analysis. The protein was further localized in the flagella of the elongated spermatids and along the entire length of the tail in mature sperm. SHIPPO 1 in sperm is resistant to treatment with nonionic detergents and coextracted with the cytoskeletal core proteins of the mouse sperm tail.
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