To study the complex molecular mechanisms of mammalian spermatogenesis, it would be useful to be able to isolate cells at each stage of differentiation, especially at the stage in which the cells switch from mitosis to meiosis. Currently, no useful marker proteins or gene promoters specific to this important stage are known. We report here a transgenic mouse line that under the control of the promoter for a histone variant, H2A.X, expressed an enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) in cells at the stage of the mitosis-meiosis switch. Endogenous H2A.X is expressed in type A spermatogonia through meiotic prophase spermatocytes in testis and in some somatic cells. However, despite the fact that its expression was driven by the H2A.X promoter, the EGFP expressed in the transgenic mice specifically labeled only the intermediate spermatogonia stage through the meiotic prophase spermatocyte stage in transgenic mice containing the −600-base pair H2A.X promoter/EGFP construct. Type A spermatogonia and somatic cells of other organs were not labeled. This expression pattern made it possible to isolate living cells from the testis of the transgenic mice at the stage of the mitosis-meiosis switch in spermatogenesis using EGFP fluorescence.
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