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16 January 2013 The Tyrosine Phosphatase SHP2 Regulates Sertoli Cell Junction Complexes
Pawan Puri, William H. Walker
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The blood-testis barrier (BTB) is a large junctional complex composed of tight junctions, adherens junctions, and gap junctions between adjacent Sertoli cells in the seminiferous tubules of the testis. Maintenance of the BTB as well as the controlled disruption and reformation of the barrier is essential for spermatogenesis and male fertility. Tyrosine phosphorylation of BTB proteins is known to regulate the integrity of adherens and tight junctions found at the BTB. SHP2 is a nonreceptor protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTP) and a key regulator of growth factor-mediated tyrosine kinase signaling pathways. We found that SHP2 is localized to Sertoli-Sertoli cell junctions in rat testis. The overexpression of a constitutive active SHP2 mutant, SHP2 Q79R, up-regulated the BTB disruptor ERK1/2 via Src kinase in primary rat Sertoli cells in culture. Furthermore, focal adhesion kinase (FAK), which also supports BTB integrity, was found to interact with SHP2 and constitutive activation of SHP2 decreased FAK tyrosine phosphorylation. Expression of the SHP2 Q79R mutant in primary cultured Sertoli cells also resulted in the loss of tight junction and adherens junction integrity that corresponded with the disruption of the actin cytoskeleton and mislocalization of adherens junction and tight junction proteins N-cadherin, β-catenin, and ZO-1 away from the plasma membrane. These results suggest that SHP2 is a key regulator of BTB integrity and Sertoli cell support of spermatogenesis and fertility.

Pawan Puri and William H. Walker "The Tyrosine Phosphatase SHP2 Regulates Sertoli Cell Junction Complexes," Biology of Reproduction 88(3), (16 January 2013).
Received: 28 August 2012; Accepted: 1 January 2013; Published: 16 January 2013

blood-testis barrier
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