The katanin microtubule-severing proteins are essential regulators of microtubule dynamics in a diverse range of species. Here we have defined critical roles for the poorly characterised katanin protein KATNAL2 in multiple aspects of spermatogenesis: the initiation of sperm tail growth from the basal body, sperm head shaping via the manchette, acrosome attachment, and ultimately sperm release. We present data suggesting that depending on context, KATNAL2 can partner with the regulatory protein KATNB1 or act autonomously. Moreover, our data indicate KATNAL2 may regulate δ- and ε-tubulin rather than classical α-β-tubulin microtubule polymers, suggesting the katanin family has a greater diversity of function than previously realised. Together with our previous research, showing the essential requirement of katanin proteins KATNAL1 and KATNB1 during spermatogenesis, our data supports the concept that in higher order species the presence of multiple katanins has allowed for subspecialisation of function within complex cellular settings such as the seminiferous epithelium.
- germ cells
- immunohistochemistry techniques
- sperm head