A Y-encoded subunit of the translation initiation factor Eif2 is essential for mouse spermatogenesis.

Document Type


Publication Date



Male, Mice, Mice-Inbred-C57BL, Mice-Transgenic, Reverse-Transcriptase-Polymerase-Chain-Reaction, Sequence-Deletion, Spermatogenesis, SUPPORT-NON-U-S-GOVT, SUPPORT-U-S-GOVT-P-H-S, Transgenes, eIF-2

JAX Source

Nat Genet 2001 Sep; 29(1):49-53.


CA34196/CA/NCI, GM20919/GM/NIGMS


In mouse and man, deletions of specific regions of the Y chromosome have been linked to early failure of spermatogenesis and consequent sterility; the Y chromosomal gene(s) with this essential early role in spermatogenesis have not been identified. The partial deletion of the mouse Y short arm (the Sxrb deletion) that occurred when Tp(Y)1CtSxr-b (hereafter Sxrb) arose from Tp(Y)1CTSxr-b (hereafter Sxra) defines Spy, a Y chromosomal factor essential for normal spermatogonial proliferation. Molecular analysis has identified six genes that lie within the deletion: Ube1y1 (refs. 4,5), Smcy, Uty, Usp9y (also known as Dffry), Eif2s3y (also known as Eif-2gammay) and Dby10; all have closely similar X-encoded homologs. Of the Y-encoded genes, Ube1y1 and Dby have been considered strong candidates for mouse Spy function, whereas Smcy has been effectively ruled out as a candidate. There is no Ube1y1 homolog in man, and DBY, either alone or in conjunction with USP9Y, is the favored candidate for an early spermatogenic role. Here we show that introduction of Ube1y1 and Dby as transgenes into Sxrb-deletion mice fails to overcome the spermatogenic block. However, the introduction of Eif2s3y restores normal spermatogonial proliferation and progression through meiotic prophase. Therefore, Eif2s3y, which encodes a subunit of the eukaryotic translation initiation factor Eif2, is Spy.