Importins: Diverse roles in male fertility

Benedict Nathaniel, Penny A.F. Whiley, Yoichi Miyamoto, Kate L. Loveland

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Regulated nucleocytoplasmic transport is central to the changes in gene expression that underpin cellular development and homeostasis, including in the testis, and proteins in the importin family are the predominant facilitators of cargo transport through the nuclear envelope. Reports documenting cell-specific profiles of importin transcripts and proteins during spermatogenesis led us to hypothesize that importins facilitate developmental switches in the testis. More recently, importins have been shown to serve additional functions, both inside and outside the nucleus; these include acting as subcellular scaffolding, mediating cellular stress responses, and controlling transcription. This paper seeks to provide an overview and update on the functions of importin proteins, with a focus on testis development and spermatogenesis. We present an extended survey of importins by combining published single cell RNAseq data with immunohistochemistry on developing and adult mouse testes. This approach reinforces and broadens knowledge of importins in biological processes, including in spermatogenesis and during testis development, revealing additional avenues for impactful investigations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-98
Number of pages17
JournalSeminars in Cell and Developmental Biology
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • Development
  • Karyopherins
  • Nucleocytoplasmic transport
  • ScRNAseq
  • Spermatogenesis
  • Testis

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