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Heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein K (hnRNP K), is a multifunctional protein that participates in a variety of regulatory processes of signal transduction and gene expression. To further characterize the significance of hnRNP K in different male germ cells, we investigated the expression profiles of hnRNP K at different developmental stages in pig and rat testes, and conducted a comparative analysis of expression patterns between these two species. In porcine testis development, both the mRNA and protein level of hnRNP K were down-regulated from 3 months to 8 months. However, the expression level of hnRNP K was abundant across the embryonic period in rats, and decreased gradually from 0 day post partum (dpp) to 14 dpp, then increased with the highest level presenting at 90 dpp. Immunolocalization analysis further confirmed the differential expression and localization of hnRNP K protein during testis development in pigs and rats. The results showed that hnRNP K was widely distributed in gonocytes, spermatogonia, sertoli cells and Leydig cells. The dynamic expression profile of hnRNP K may imply its crucial and potential roles in the development of the testis, which will provide a theoretical basis for the future study of molecular mechanism regulation of spermatogenesis.
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