144. MAELSTROM – A PROTEIN THAT IS ESSENTIAL FOR SPERMATOGENESIS AND TRANSPOSABLE REPRESSION IS EXPRESSED IN ADULT OVARY OF MAMMALS AND BIRDSS. Lim A , E. Tsend-Ayush A , R. Kortschak A , C. Ricciardelli B , M. Oehler B and F. Grutzner A
A Genetics, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, 5005, Australia.
B Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia.
Reproduction, Fertility and Development 22(9) 62-62 https://doi.org/10.1071/SRB10Abs144
Published: 6 September 2010
Maelstrom (MAEL) is a highly evolutionarily conserved protein located at the perinuclear structure of animal germ cells called nuage. The MAEL protein contains HMG and Tudor domains and associates with components of the piRNA and RNAi pathways and chromatin remodelling factors. Recent work has shown that MAEL is required for the differentiation of the germ-line stem cell lineage and for the retroposon repression. In mouse, Mael is expressed in male germ cells and is essential for spermatogenesis and retroposon suppression. We have investigated the evolution of the Mael gene in mammals and birds. As expected the gene is highly conserved in all three mammalian lineages and in chicken. Interestingly, the platypus MAEL has exclusive changes in the DnaQ-H 3’-5’ exonuclease domain and computational modelling suggested that these changes may affect the folding of the protein. Expression analysis revealed that the Mael gene is transcribed in testis but also in adult ovaries of chicken, platypus, mouse and human. In situ hybridisation of the Mael transcript on ovary sections of mouse and platypus shows that gene expression is found in pre-antral and antral follicles. The data so far also showed some differences in the expression pattern between mouse and platypus. In mouse, we detected transcript in oocyte, granulosa cells and cumulus cells whereas in the platypus we only observed expression in oocyte. Earlier work demonstrated that Drosophila Mael mutant ovaries had mislocalisation of the RNAi pathway proteins, Dicer and Argonaute2. It is well known that RNAi pathyway is involved in the repression of transposon in the testis and ovary across animal kingdom. As a key component of the RNAi pathway, MAEL is reported to co-localise and interact with MILI and MIWI proteins. These finding may suggest a role of MAEL in retroposon control in ovary and folliculogenesis.