BACKGROUND:Male germ cells are unique because they express a substantial number of variants of the general DNA binding proteins, known as histones, yet the biological significance of these variants is still unknown. In the present study, we aimed to address the expression pattern of the testis-specific histone H2B variant (TH2B) and the testis-specific histone H2A variant (TH2A) within the neonatal mouse testis. RESULTS:We demonstrate that TH2B and TH2A are present in a testis-enriched for undifferentiated spermatogonia. Co-localization studies with an undifferentiated marker, ZBTB16, revealed that TH2B and ZBTB16 co-localize in the neonatal testis. Upon the appearance of the primary spermatocytes, TH2B no longer co-localized with the ZBTB16 positive spermatogonia but were instead detected within the differentiating spermatogonia. This pattern of expression where TH2B and ZBTB16 no longer co-localize was maintained in the adult testis. CONCLUSION:These findings are in contrast to previous studies, which demonstrated that TH2B and TH2A were found only in adult spermatocytes. Our data are in support of a switch in the expression of these variants following the first round of spermatogonial differentiation. These studies reinforce current understandings that spermatogonia within the neonatal mouse testis are inherently different from those residing within the adult testis.