ESRP1 regulates alternative splicing, producing multiple transcripts from its target genes in epithelial tissues. It is upregulated during mesenchymal to epithelial transition associated with reprogramming of fibroblasts to iPS cells and has been linked to pluripotency. Mouse fetal germ cells are the founders of the adult gonadal lineages and we found that Esrp1 mRNA was expressed in both male and female germ cells but not in gonadal somatic cells at various stages of gonadal development (E12.5-E15.5). In the postnatal testis, Esrp1 mRNA was highly expressed in isolated cell preparations enriched for spermatogonia but expressed at lower levels in those enriched for pachytene spermatocytes and round spermatids. Co-labelling experiments with PLZF and c-KIT showed that ESRP1 was localized to nuclei of both Type A and B spermatogonia in a speckled pattern, but was not detected in SOX9+ somatic Sertoli cells. No co-localization with the nuclear speckle marker, SC35, which has been associated with post-transcriptional splicing, was observed, suggesting that ESRP1 may be associated with co-transcriptional splicing or have other functions. RNA interference mediated knockdown of Esrp1 expression in the seminoma-derived Tcam-2 cell line demonstrated that ESRP1 regulates alternative splicing of mRNAs in a non-epithelial cell germ cell tumour cell line.
Saeidi, S., Shapouri, F., De Iongh, R. U., Casagranda, F., Sutherland, J. M., Western, P. S., … Hime, G. R. (2018). Esrp1 is a marker of mouse fetal germ cells and differentially expressed during spermatogenesis. PLoS ONE, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0190925