Articles by Stephan Awe in JoVE
Ex vivo Culture of Drosophila Pupal Testis and Single Male Germ-line Cysts: Dissection, Imaging, and Pharmacological Treatment Stefanie M. K. Gärtner1, Christina Rathke1, Renate Renkawitz-Pohl*1, Stephan Awe*2 1Fachbereich Biologie, Entwicklungsbiologie, Philipps-Universität Marburg, 2Institut für Molekularbiologie und Tumorforschung, Philipps-Universität Marburg This protocol describes the dissection and cultivation of intact testes and germ-line cysts from Drosophila melanogaster pupae. This method allows microscopic observation of spermatogenesis ex vivo. Furthermore, we describe a pharmacological assay of the effect of inhibitors on specific stages of germ-cell development in pupal testes.
Other articles by Stephan Awe on PubMed
Histone H4 Acetylation is Essential to Proceed from a Histone- to a Protamine-based Chromatin Structure in Spermatid Nuclei of Drosophila Melanogaster Systems Biology in Reproductive Medicine. Feb, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20170286 In humans, other mammals, and also in Drosophila, the paternal genome in the sperm is highly condensed and organized mainly in a protamine-based chromatin structure. However, the timing and mechanism of the switch from a histone- to the protamine-based chromatin configuration is still poorly understood. We therefore established Drosophila in vitro cultures of cysts with 64 synchronously developing spermatids genetically marked with histone H2AvD-RFP and ProtamineB-eGFP. Live cell imaging showed that the switch from H2AvD-RFP to Protamine-eGFP chromatin takes approximately five hours, with a short but clear overlap of the presence of both histones and protamines. Moreover, cultured pupal testes showed H4 hyperacetylation at the canoe stage shortly before histone removal; a feature previously observed in the intact animal. We then used TSA to inhibit histone deacetylation and found that premature hyperacetylation was already induced at the round nuclei stage of spermatids. However, this premature hyperacetylation did not lead to a premature switch to the protamine-based chromatin structure, showing that histone hyperacetylation is not the sole inducer of the histone to protamine switch. Importantly, we observed that inactivation of histone acetyltransferases by anacardic acid blocks further differentiation and thus prevents the degradation of histones and the switch to a protamine-based chromatin. Thus, we conclude that H4 hyperacetylation is an essential feature but not the sole inducer of the histone to protamine switch during spermiogenesis.
The Bromodomain-containing Protein TBRD-1 is Specifically Expressed in Spermatocytes and is Essential for Male Fertility Biology Open. Jun, 2012 | Pubmed ID: 23213453 By a conserved cellular differentiation process, spermatogenesis leads to formation of haploid sperm for successful reproduction. In Drosophila and in mammals, post-meiotic spermatid differentiation depends on several translationally repressed and stored mRNAs that are often expressed exclusively in the testis through a cell type specific transcriptional program. In Drosophila, the mRNAs of proteins required for post-meiotic chromatin reorganisation, like ProtB and Mst77F, are transcribed in meiotic spermatocytes and subjected to translational repression for days. Transcription of many of these translationally repressed mRNAs depends on testis-specific homologs of TATA box binding protein-associated factors (tTAFs). Here, we identified the testis-specific bromodomain protein, tBRD-1, that is only expressed in primary spermatocytes. Bromodomain proteins are able to recognise and bind acetylated histones and non-histone proteins. We generated tbrd-1 mutant flies and observed that function of tBRD-1 is required for male fertility. tBRD-1 partially colocalised with tTAFs, TAF1 and Polycomb to a Fibrillarin-deficient region within the spermatocyte nucleolus. The nucleolar localisation of tBRD-1 depended on tTAF function but not the other way round. Further, we could show that ectopically expressed tBRD-1-eGFP is able to bind to the interbands of polytene chromosomes. By inhibitor treatment of cultured testis we observed that sub-cellular localisation of tBRD-1 may depend on the acetylation status of primary spermatocytes.
Chromatin Dynamics During Spermiogenesis Biochimica Et Biophysica Acta. Mar, 2014 | Pubmed ID: 24091090 The function of sperm is to safely transport the haploid paternal genome to the egg containing the maternal genome. The subsequent fertilization leads to transmission of a new unique diploid genome to the next generation. Before the sperm can set out on its adventurous journey, remarkable arrangements need to be made during the post-meiotic stages of spermatogenesis. Haploid spermatids undergo extensive morphological changes, including a striking reorganization and compaction of their chromatin. Thereby, the nucleosomal, histone-based structure is nearly completely substituted by a protamine-based structure. This replacement is likely facilitated by incorporation of histone variants, post-translational histone modifications, chromatin-remodeling complexes, as well as transient DNA strand breaks. The consequences of mutations have revealed that a protamine-based chromatin is essential for fertility in mice but not in Drosophila. Nevertheless, loss of protamines in Drosophila increases the sensitivity to X-rays and thus supports the hypothesis that protamines are necessary to protect the paternal genome. Pharmaceutical approaches have provided the first mechanistic insights and have shown that hyperacetylation of histones just before their displacement is vital for progress in chromatin reorganization but is clearly not the sole inducer. In this review, we highlight the current knowledge on post-meiotic chromatin reorganization and reveal for the first time intriguing parallels in this process in Drosophila and mammals. We conclude with a model that illustrates the possible mechanisms that lead from a histone-based chromatin to a mainly protamine-based structure during spermatid differentiation. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Chromatin and epigenetic regulation of animal development.