Aym1, a mouse meiotic gene identified by virtue of its ability to activate early meiotic genes in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Mira Malcov, Karen Cesarkas, Gil Stelzer, Sarah Shalom, Yosef Dicken, Yaniv Naor, Ronald S. Goldstein, Shira Sagee, Yona Kassir, Jeremy Don

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Our understanding of the molecular mechanisms that operate during differentiation of mitotically dividing spermatogonia cells into spermatocytes lags way behind what is known about other differentiating systems. Given the evolutionary conservation of the meiotic process, we screened for mouse proteins that could specifically activate early meiotic promoters in Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast cells, when fused to the Gal4 activation domain (Gal4AD). Our screen yielded the Aym1 gene that encodes a short peptide of 45 amino acids. We show that a Gal4AD-AYM1 fusion protein activates expression of reporter genes through the promoters of the early meiosis-specific genes IME2 and HOP1, and that this activation is dependent on the DNA-binding protein Ume6. Aym1 is transcribed predominantly in mouse primary spermatocytes and in gonads of female embryos undergoing the corresponding meiotic divisions. Aym1 immunolocalized to nuclei of primary spermatocytes and oocytes and to specific type A spermatogonia cells, suggesting it might play a role in the processes leading to meiotic competence. The potential functional relationship between AYM1 and yeast proteins that regulate expression of early meiotic genes is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-123
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported in part by grant No. 371/94-3 from the Israel Science Foundation administered by the Israeli Academy of Sciences and Humanities, grant No. 97-00318 from the United States–Israel Binational Science Foundation, and by the Maria Rossi Ascoli Fund administered by the Israeli Ministry of Health.


  • Aym1
  • Early meiotic genes
  • Gametogenesis
  • IME1
  • Meiosis
  • Spermatogonia


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