The four isoforms of serine/threonine phosphoprotein phosphatase 1 (PP1), derived from three genes, are among the most conserved proteins known. The Ppp1cc gene encodes two alternatively spliced variants, PP1 gamma1 (PPP1CC1) and PP1 gamma2 (PPP1CC2). Global deletion of the Ppp1cc gene, which causes loss of both isoforms, results in male infertility due to impaired spermatogenesis. This phenotype was assumed to be due to the loss of PPP1CC2, which is abundant in testis. While PPP1CC2 is predominant, other PP1 isoforms are also expressed in testis. Given the significant homology between the four PP1 isoforms, the lack of compensation by the other PP1 isoforms for loss of one, only in testis, is surprising. Here we document, for the first time, expression patterns of the PP1 isoforms in postnatal developing and adult mouse testis. The timing and sites of testis expression of PPP1CC1 and PPP1CC2 in testis are nonoverlapping. PPP1CC2 is the only one of the four PP1 isoforms not detected in sertoli cells and spermatogonia. Conversely, PPP1CC2 may be the only PP1 isoform expressed in postmeiotic germ cells. Deletion of the Ppp1cc gene in germ cells at the differentiated spermatogonia stage of development and beyond in Stra8 promoter-driven Cre transgenic mice results in oligo-terato-asthenozoospermia and male infertility, thus phenocopying global Ppp1cc null (−/−) mice. Taken together, these results confirm that spermatogenic defects observed in the global Ppp1cc knockout mice and in mice expressing low levels of PPP1CC2 in testis are due to compromised functions of PPP1CC2 in meiotic and postmeiotic germ cells.
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Vol. 89 • No. 5