We applied serial analysis of gene expression (SAGE) to the mouse testis to reveal the global gene expression profile and to identify senescence-dependent changes in that profile. A total of 61,929 SAGE tags, including 19,323 unique tags, were obtained from 3- and 29-month-old BDF1 mice and 14-month-old SAMP1 mice. Genes highly expressed in the testis included those associated with spermatogenesis, protein metabolism, energy metabolism, growth and differentiation, and signal transduction. Testes from old mice of both strains appeared atrophied. Morphological examination of aged testes revealed extremely thin seminiferous epithelia and significantly decreased numbers of spermatids and spermatocytes. Despite the physical deterioration, no gross changes in the gene expression profile were apparent in the testes of old BDF1 mice. However, in 14-month-old SAMP1 mice, protamine 2 gene transcription was approximately 50% lower than in BDF1 mice. This reduction may be associated with the oligozoospermia and early decline in reproductive performance of SAMP1 mice. Our SAGE results are the first quantitative gene expression profile of the mouse testis and provide a reliable transcriptome reference for this organ.
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