RNA binding protein Musashi1 is expressed in sertoli cells in the rat testis from fetal life to adulthood

P T K Saunders, S M Maguire, S Macpherson, M C Fenelon, S Sakakibara, H Okano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Musashi1 (Msi1) gene identified in mouse is a member of a subfamily of RNA binding proteins that are highly conserved across species. Msi1 expression is highly enriched in proliferative cells within the developing central nervous system. Within the testis, proliferation and differentiation of germ cells takes place within the seminiferous epithelium, where these cells are supported physically and functionally by Sertoli cells that do not themselves proliferate following the onset of puberty. RNA binding proteins expressed in testicular germ cells are essential for normal fertility. Preliminary data suggested the mRNA for Msi1 was present in ovary; therefore, we used an Msi1-specific cRNA and monoclonal antibody to investigate whether Msi1 was expressed in the testis. Msi1 mRNA was expressed in rat testis from birth until adulthood; in situ hybridization revealed silver grains within the seminiferous epithelium. Immunohistochemical studies demonstrated that at all ages examined (from Fetal Day 14.5 until adulthood) Msi1 protein was expressed in Sertoli cells. In fetal and adult rat ovaries, Msi1 was detected in granulosa cells and their precursors. In Sertoli cells, protein was detected in both cytoplasmic and nuclear compartments; in adult testes, the immunointensity of the nuclear staining was stage dependent, with highest levels of expression in Sertoli cells at stages I-VI. In rat gonads, the RNA binding protein Msi1 is expressed in both proliferating and nonproliferating Sertoli and granulosa cells.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)500-7
Number of pages8
JournalBiology of Reproduction
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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