Meiotic Initiation in Spermatogenesis

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Mina Kojima

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This image represents a cross section of an adult mouse testis. Here, one can see cells at many different stages of spermatogenesis, including close-to-mature sperm. During spermatogenesis, cells must go through an important process called “meiosis,” a special cell cycle that helps generates cells with half the amount of DNA. Magenta marks cells that are just about to begin the meiotic cell cycle, and the green labeling depicts the special “chromosome dance” of cells undergoing meiosis.

I took this image to determine exactly what proportion of cells in the adult testis express the protein STRA8. Our laboratory had previously shown that the Stra8 gene is required for cells to begin the process of meiosis, but the molecular function of the STRA8 protein was unknown – thus, I was interested in characterizing the function of the STRA8 protein and figuring out how exactly it coordinates meiotic initiation.