A transgenic rat was established using the construct of porcine FSHβ subunit promoter, the -852/+10 bp region, fused to a Herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (HSV-TK) gene. Integration of the transgene was confirmed by PCR of tail DNA. RT-PCR of total RNAs of the pituitary, gonad, cerebellum, liver, kidney, adrenal gland, prostate, and uterus revealed that FSHβ was only expressed in the pituitary. Analysis of the expression of reporter gene, HSV-TK, using two specific primer sets revealed that different transcripts were present in the pituitary and testis. The transcript initiated at the transcription initiation site of the porcine FSHβ gene was detected in the pituitary, and another within the TK gene was found in the testis, indicating ectopic testis-specific expression. Immunohistochemistry of the pituitary glands of the transgenic rats for FSH and HSV-TK demonstrated that the FSH-producing cells also produced HSV-TK. The results indicated that the -852/+10 bp region of the FSHβ promoter contains an element(s) that determines the tissue-specific expression. We succeeded in producing FSHβ promoter-driven HSV-TK transgenic rats and were the first time to do so using an animal other than the mouse. The transgenic rats show male infertility that involves abnormal spermatogenesis. We also observed a decrease in the weight of the testis and epididymis, and both motile and living spermatozoa were absent in the epididymis. Consequently, the FSHβ-HSV-TK transgenic rat will provide a useful model for studies on FSH function and male infertility.
2007 Society for Reproduction and Development