A 50-bp enhancer of the mouse acrosomal vesicle protein 1 gene activates round spermatid-specific transcription in vivo

Craig Urekar, Kshitish K. Acharya, Preeti Chhabra, Prabhakara P. Reddi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Enhancers are cis-elements that activate transcription and play critical roles in tissue- and cell type-specific gene expression. During spermatogenesis, genes coding for specialized sperm structures are expressed in a developmental stage- and cell type-specific manner, but the enhancers responsible for their expression have not been identified. Using the mouse acrosomal vesicle protein (Acrv1) gene that codes for the acrosomal protein SP-10 as a model, our previous studies have shown that Acrv1 proximal promoter activates transcription in spermatids; and the goal of the present study was to separate the enhancer responsible. Transgenic mice showed that three copies of the -186/-135 fragment (50 bp enhancer) placed upstream of the Acrv1 core promoter (-91/+28) activated reporter expression in testis but not somatic tissues (n = 4). Immunohistochemistry showed that enhancer activity was restricted to the round spermatids. The Acrv1 enhancer failed to activate transcription in the context of a heterologous core promoter (n = 4), indicating a likely requirement for enhancer-core promoter compatibility. Chromatin accessibility assays showed that the Acrv1 enhancer assumes a nucleosome-free state in male germ cells (but not liver), indicating occupancy by transcription factors. Southwestern assays (SWA) identified specific binding of the enhancer to a testis nuclear protein of 47 kDa (TNP47). TNP47 was predominantly nuclear and becomes abundant during the haploid phase of spermatogenesis. Two-dimensional SWA revealed the isoelectric point of TNP47 to be 5.2. Taken together, this study delineated a 50-bp enhancer of the Acrv1 gene for round spermatid-specific transcription and identified a putative cognate factor. The 50-bp enhancer could become useful for delivery of proteins into spermatids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)842-853
Number of pages12
JournalBiology of reproduction
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 25 2019


  • acrosome
  • chromatin
  • enhancer
  • gene expression
  • spermatogenesis
  • testis
  • transcriptional regulation
  • transgenic mice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Cell Biology


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