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Morales, CR, Zhao, Q, El-Alfy, M and Suzuki, K Targeted disruption of the mouse prosaposin gene affects the development of the prostate gland and other male reproductive organs. J. Androl. 21:765-75


The prosaposin gene encodes a 65-70 kilodalton (kd) protein, which is secreted or targeted to lysosomes. In lysosomes, prosaposin is the precursor of 4 activator proteins, designated saposins A, B, C, and D, which promote by acidic hydrolases, the degradation of glycosphingolipids with short oligosaccharide chains. Mutations of the prosaposin gene have been linked to several lysosomal storage disorders. An animal model was recently developed by creating a null allele in embryonic stem cells through gene targeting in order to investigate the phenotypic diversity of prosaposin mutations, the involvement of this protein in lysosomal storage diseases, and to develop potential therapeutic approaches. Mutant homozygous mice die at 35-40 days of age and neurological disorders contribute to their early death. Secreted prosaposin is present in milk and in cerebrospinal and seminal fluids. In the nervous system, prosaposin exhibits a trophic activity. Examination of reproduc-tive organs in homozygous mutant males shows several abnormalities such as a decrease in testis size with reduced spermiogenesis, and an involution of the prostate, seminal vesicle, and epididymis, although levels of testosterone in blood remain normal. In the prostate of homozygous mutants, only basal cells appear to be present, whereas secretory cells are absent. The epithelia in efferent ducts is formed by ciliated cells, whereas heterozygotes exhibit a majority of nonciliated cells. Our data indicate that prosaposin is involved in the development and maintenance of male reproductive organs. In prostatic epithelium, targeted disruption of the prosaposin gene appears to inactivate the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway and to interfere with differentiation of secretory cells.




Aging; Animals; Genitalia, Male/growth & development; Genitalia, Male/physiology; Glycoproteins/deficiency; Glycoproteins/genetics; Glycoproteins/physiology; Heterozygote; Homozygote; Male; Mice; Mice, Knockout; Prostate/cytology; Prostate/growth & development; Prostate/physiology; Protein Precursors/deficiency; Protein Precursors/genetics; Protein Precursors/metabolism; Saposins; Testis/cytology; Testis/growth & development; Testis/physiology