Expression of a fluorescent recombinant form of sperm protein phospholipase C zeta in mouse epididymal sperm by in vivo gene transfer into the testis.
Coward K., Kubota H., Hibbitt O., McIlhinney J., Kohri K., Parrington J.
OBJECTIVE: To use in vivo gene transfer into the testis by electroporation to express a fluorescent recombinant form of a testis-specific gene in the mature epididymal sperm of mice and thus study the pattern of gene localization. DESIGN: Controlled animal study. SETTING: Research laboratory at the University of Oxford. ANIMAL(S): Four- to 6-week-old male mice. INTERVENTION(S): Phospholipase C zeta (PLCzeta), the putative mammalian egg activation factor, was fused to enhanced yellow fluorescent protein (EYFP), and in vivo gene transfer by electroporation was used to introduce this transgene (PLCzeta-EYFP) into mouse testis. Transgene expression in testis and sperm were analyzed at 20 and 40 days after electroporation. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Transgene expression in testis and epididymal sperm was analyzed by fluorescence microscopy and an excitation light source suitable for EYFP. RESULT(S): Phospholipase C zeta-EYFP was successfully expressed in epididymal sperm when analyzed 40 days after gene transfer and was localized to the head and midpiece regions. CONCLUSION(S): Our results provide the first demonstration that in vivo gene transfer can be used to study the localization of proteins in mature sperm and that this represents a powerful new technique for studying male infertility and gene function in sperm.