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OBJECTIVE: To use in vivo gene transfer into the testis by electroporation to express a fluorescent recombinant form of a testis-specific gene in the mature epididymal sperm of mice and thus study the pattern of gene localization. DESIGN: Controlled animal study. SETTING: Research laboratory at the University of Oxford. ANIMAL(S): Four- to 6-week-old male mice. INTERVENTION(S): Phospholipase C zeta (PLCzeta), the putative mammalian egg activation factor, was fused to enhanced yellow fluorescent protein (EYFP), and in vivo gene transfer by electroporation was used to introduce this transgene (PLCzeta-EYFP) into mouse testis. Transgene expression in testis and sperm were analyzed at 20 and 40 days after electroporation. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Transgene expression in testis and epididymal sperm was analyzed by fluorescence microscopy and an excitation light source suitable for EYFP. RESULT(S): Phospholipase C zeta-EYFP was successfully expressed in epididymal sperm when analyzed 40 days after gene transfer and was localized to the head and midpiece regions. CONCLUSION(S): Our results provide the first demonstration that in vivo gene transfer can be used to study the localization of proteins in mature sperm and that this represents a powerful new technique for studying male infertility and gene function in sperm.

Original publication




Journal article


Fertil Steril

Publication Date



85 Suppl 1


1281 - 1289


Animals, Bacterial Proteins, Cells, Cultured, Electroporation, Epididymal Secretory Proteins, Gene Expression Regulation, Gene Transfer Techniques, Luminescent Proteins, Male, Mice, Mice, Transgenic, Microscopy, Fluorescence, Phosphoinositide Phospholipase C, Recombinant Fusion Proteins, Spermatozoa, Testis, Tissue Distribution, Type C Phospholipases