Localization and age-dependent expression of the inward rectifier K+ channel subunit Kir 5.1 in a mammalian reproductive system

Lorena Salvatore, Maria Cristina D'Adamo, Roman Polishchuk, Mario Salmona, Mauro Pessia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Kir 5.1 is a member of the inward rectifier potassium channel superfamily which does not form functional channels when expressed by itself in Xenopus laevis oocytes. rt-PCR reveals high levels of Kir 5.1 mRNA expression in testis but the function of this channel remains unknown. To determine the cell-specific expression of this channel in the testis we raised a polyclonal antibody against an external epitope of Kir 5.1 and tested its specificity in Xenopus oocytes expressing several cloned Kir subunits. Strong immunoreactivity for Kir 5.1 was found in seminiferous tubules of rat testis and, particularly, in spermatogonia, primary and secondary spermatocytes, spermatids and in the head and body of spermatozoa. The intensity of Kir 5.1 immunofluorescence, quantified using laser scanning microscopy, increased with age at every stage in the development of sperm from spermatogonia and reached a peak in 60-day-old rats. In contrast, the immunofluorescence decreased in 90-day-old animals and was detected mostly in spermatozoa. The results demonstrate that Kir 5.1 expression in the testis is localised to cells involved in spermatogenesis, showing a temporal pattern of expression during sexual maturity. Copyright (C) 1999 Federation of European Biochemical Societies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-152
Number of pages7
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 23 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Confocal microscopy
  • Immunofluorescence
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Potassium channel
  • Spermatozoon
  • Testis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


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