The role of Fos proteins in the regulation of germ cell progression during spermatogenesis has been studied in the frog, Rana esculenta. A peculiarity of this animal model is the finding of Fos in cytoplasmic compartment of primary spermatogonia during the resting period of the annual reproductive cycle. Interestingly, Fos is localized in the nuclear compartment when spermatogenesis resumes. Using Western blot analysis, we show that a 52-kDa Fos protein occurs in testicular cytosolic preparations, whereas two different Fos signals of 43 and 68 kDa are typical of the nuclear compartment. The 68-kDa Fos immunoreactive protein increases in nuclear extracts in concomitance with spermatogonia (SPG) proliferation either during the annual sexual cycle or in experimental animal groups where SPG proliferation was induced by thermal stimulus (24 C). Indeed, an increase in proliferating cell nuclear antigen was detectable after thermal induction of mitotic activity. A decrease in the 52-kDa signal and a concomitant increase in the 68-kDa signal is observed in testes of 24 C treated groups. The use of alkaline phosphatase and alkaline phosphatase inhibitors indicates that the 68-kDa protein is a phosphorylated form. Estrogens, which are able to induce SPG proliferation, are responsible for the appearance of the 43-kDa Fos form in nuclear testicular extracts. In conclusion, our results show, for the first time in a vertebrate species, that storage in the cytoplasm, on the one hand, and appearance as well as phosphorylation of Fos proteins in the nucleus of germ cells, on the other hand, regulate spermatogenesis progression during the seasonal breeding. Moreover, the phosphorylated 68-kDa Fos form may be involved in mechanisms underlying SPG proliferation.