The intracellular distribution of nucleolar phosphoproteins B23 and nucleolin was studied during mouse spermatogenesis, a process that is characterized by a progressive reduction of nucleolar activity. Biochemical analyses of isolated germ cell fractions were performed in parallel with the in situ ultrastructural immunolocalization of these two proteins by means of specific antibodies and colloidal gold markers, and by silver staining. RNA blot experiments showed that mRNA for nucleolin progressively decreased during spermatogenesis whereas mRNA for B23 increased in amount during early spermatogenic stages. Immunoblotting confirmed that both proteins were present during early spermatogenesis up to the round spermatid stage and absent from mature sperm. Immunoelectron microscopy revealed that in spermatogonia, leptotene and pachtyene spermatocytes, and in Golgi phase spermatids, B23 and nucleolin were localized in the dense fibrillar component and granular component of the nucleolus but not in the fibrillar centers. In the dense fibrillar residue of the cap phase spermatids, labeling with anti-nucleolin but not with anti-B23 was observed. During nucleolar inactivation, neither of the two polypeptides was dispersed to the nucleoplasm. Silver salts stained the fibrillar centers and dense fibrillar component but not the granular component of the nucleolus. Our results suggest that there is no direct relationship between nucleolar activity and the occurrence of B23 and nucleolin or silver staining. Moreover, we confirm that silver staining and the presence of B23 or nucleolin are not directly related to each other.
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