We had previously reported the isolation of the testis-specific human gene Tsga10, which is not expressed in testes from two infertile patients. To study its role and function, we cloned the mouse homologue Mtsga10. Mtsga10 localizes to mouse chromosome 1, band B. This region is syntenic with human chromosome 2q11.2, where Tsga10 is located. We demonstrate that Mtsga10 mRNA is expressed in testis, but not in other adult tissues, and in several human fetal tissues and primary tumors. We uncovered that different species use different first exons and, consequently, different promoters. Using several antibodies, we discovered that, in mouse testis, Mtsga10 encodes a 65-kDa spermatid protein that appears to be processed to a 27-kDa protein of the fibrous sheath, a major sperm tail structure, in mature spermatozoa. Mtsga10 protein contains a putative myosin/Ezrin/radixin/moesin (ERM) domain. Transfection of fibroblasts with GFP-Mtsga10 fusion protein results in formation of short, thick filaments and deletion of the myosin/ERM domain abolished filament formation. Our results suggest the possibility that Tsga10 plays a role in the sperm tail fibrous sheath.
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