Navigation Links
Of mice and men's (and women's) contraceptives

Mice lacking a special protein found only in germ-line cells results in infertility in both males and females, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Norman Hecht, PhD, Professor of Human Reproduction in Penn's Center for Research in Reproduction and Women's Health, and colleagues say that these investigations point the way to a new type of contraceptive for both men and women. They report their findings in this week's online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"Not many proteins are expressed in both male and female germ lines that are specific only to the germ line," says Hecht. Germ line refers to the group of cells that give rise to either sperm or eggs in animals, as opposed to all other cell types, which are called somatic cells. "There are many proteins whose deletion will cause male infertility, and others for creating female infertility, but not many that will lead to both male and female infertility without affecting the somatic cells."

Animals deficient in the protein ?called MSY2 ?are infertile, but are otherwise healthy and completely normal. Male mice produce no functional sperm, and females show early loss of eggs and defects in ovulation.

The MSY2 protein is part of a family of proteins, called Y-box proteins, that are present in most organisms, ranging from bacteria to humans. In the nuclei of developing germ cells, MSY2 enhances synthesis of a select group of messenger RNA (mRNA) molecules and transports them from the nucleus into the cytoplasm. There, MSY2 proteins stabilize the mRNAs, which are used to make new proteins. Many of these proteins are critical for the production of normal sperm and also are unique to germ cells.

"When trying to develop a new contraceptive, it's hard because we need to identify a target that's specific to the germ cells," says Hecht. "Clearly, if we inactivate the function of a protein with a small inhib itory molecule, it can't be a protein also active in such somatic tissues as brain, heart, liver, and so forth, only in the reproductive cells we want to target." Investigating germ cell molecules for contraception is also desirable because it frequently allows reversibility.

Hecht and colleagues have been proposing this scheme for the last several years, but how does the absence of the MSY2 protein result in male and female infertility? "We don't know the complete mechanism yet, but it may be preventing the stabilization of specific messenger RNAs that need to be used at specific times as germ cells differentiate into mature sperm and eggs," explains Hecht. "An equally likely possibility is that the absence of MSY2 disrupts the timing of how specific mRNAs are used during germ cell differentiation. As cells become mature sperm, there's a precise order of synthesis of many essential proteins needed to create functional gametes. We think the absence of the MSY2 protein causes problems in the timing of sperm or egg development. We're working hard on understanding this mechanism."

A similar human equivalent of MSY2, Contrin, has been identified by the research group and their studies indicate it is also a germ cell-specific protein. Using MSY2 as a mouse model, Hecht and colleagues hope that Contrin can be developed as a new non-hormonal target for human contraception.


'"/>

Source:University of Pennsylvania Medical Center


Related biology news :

1. How the environment could be damaging mens reproductive health
2. Variation in womens X chromosomes may explain differences among individuals, between sexes
3. Heavy smoking cuts womens chance of pregnancy -- even with donated oocytes
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:10/4/2017)... , Oct. 4, 2017  GCE Solutions, a global clinical research ... and document anonymization solution on October 4, 2017. Shadow is designed ... to comply with policy 0070 of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) ... ... Solutions ...
(Date:7/20/2017)... WASHINGTON , July 20, 2017 Delta (NYSE: ... to board any Delta aircraft at Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). ... Delta launches biometrics ... Delta,s ... Delta Sky Club is now integrated into the boarding process to ...
(Date:6/14/2017)... , June 15, 2017  IBM (NYSE: IBM ) ... international tech event dedicated to developing collaboration between startups and ... on June 15-17. During the event, nine startups will showcase ... value in various industries. France ... the international market, with a 30 percent increase in the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA (PRWEB) , ... October 10, ... ... risk management, technological innovation and business process optimization firm for the life sciences ... the BoxWorks conference in San Francisco. , The presentation, “Automating GxP ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... 2017 , ... At its national board meeting in North Carolina, ARCS® ... Departments of Physics and Astronomy, has been selected for membership in ARCS Alumni ... the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental physics for the discovery of the accelerating expansion ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 06, ... ... leader in Hi-C-based genomic technologies, launched its ProxiMeta™ Hi-C metagenome deconvolution product, ... Hi-C kit and accompanying cloud-based bioinformatics software to perform Hi-C metagenome deconvolution ...
(Date:10/5/2017)... ... 05, 2017 , ... LabRoots , the leading provider of educational and ... giving back to cancer research with a month-long promotion supporting the advancement of breast ... shoppers can use promo code PinkRibbon to get 10 percent off their purchase of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: