Tlk, a novel evolutionarily conserved murine serine threonine kinase, encodes multiple testis transcripts

Sarah Shalom, Jeremy Don

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26 Scopus citations


Hypothesizing that genes important in meiotic processes in mammals might have evolutionarily conserved counterparts in lower organisms, we used the yeast IME2 meiotic gene (serine threonine kinase) as a probe for screening a mouse testis cDNA library. This screening resulted in identification of a novel putative serine threonine kinase. Although it did not exhibit significant homology to IME2, it did show significant sequence homology to the Tousled kinase in Arabidopsis. Tousled is associated with various differentiative processes including differentiation of the reproductive organs. The new murine gene was designated accordingly Tlk (Tousled like kinase). Tousled like kinase sequences have been reported to occur in C. elegans and in the human. Positive hybridization signals obtained in zooblot analysis suggest evolutionary conservation of Tlk throughout the phylogenetic ladder. Four distinct Tlk transcripts were detected in mouse testis, at least one of which is testis-specific. Northern and in situ hybridization analyses revealed that in normal testis, Tlk is expressed predominantly in pachytene spermatocytes and in round spermatids. Transcripts differ from one another in their 3' untranslated region, resulting from use of different polyadenylation sites, and in the length of their 5' region. Within the coding region, three of the putative peptides share the kinase and C-terminal domains but differ in their N-terminal domain, suggesting that the latter may be involved in the regulation of Tlk's function. We conclude that although Tlk might have an essential role in all tissues, these kinases are likely to take part in the complex array of phosphorylations involved in regulating spermatogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)392-405
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular Reproduction and Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999


  • Alternative
  • Mouse
  • Polyadenylation
  • Spermatogenesis
  • Tousled like kinase


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