Mouse spermatogenesis-associated protein 1 (SPATA1), an IFT20 binding partner, is an acrosomal protein

Ling Zhang, Jingkai Zhen, Qian Huang, Hong Liu, Wei Li, Shiyang Zhang, Jie Min, Yuhong Li, Lin Shi, James Woods, Xuequn Chen, Yuqin Shi, Yunhao Liu, Rex A. Hess, Shizhen Song, Zhibing Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Intraflagellar transport is a motor-driven trafficking system that is required for the formation of cilia. Intraflagellar transport protein 20 (IFT20) is a master regulator for the control of spermatogenesis and male fertility in mice. However, the mechanism of how IFT20 regulates spermatogenesis is unknown. Results: Spermatogenesis associated 1 (SPATA1) was identified to be a major potential binding partner of IFT20 by a yeast two-hybrid screening. The interaction between SPATA1 and IFT20 was examined by direct yeast two-hybrid, co-localization, and co-immunoprecipitation assays. SPATA1 is highly abundant in the mouse testis, and is also expressed in the heart and kidney. During the first wave of spermatogenesis, SPATA1 is detectable at postnatal day 24 and its expression is increased at day 30 and 35. Immunofluorescence staining of mouse testis sections and epididymal sperm demonstrated that SPATA1 is localized mainly in the acrosome of developing spermatids but not in epididymal sperm. IFT20 is also present in the acrosome area of round spermatids. In conditional Ift20 knockout mice, testicular expression level and acrosomal localization of SPATA1 are not changed. Conclusions: SPATA1 is an IFT20 binding protein and may provide a docking site for IFT20 complex binding to the acrosome area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)543-555
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental Dynamics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • acrosome
  • intraflagellar transport 20
  • spermiogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology


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