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9 January 2013 A Novel Subcellular Machine Contributes to Basal Junction Remodeling in the Seminiferous Epithelium
Min Du, J'Nelle Young, Marc De Asis, Jane Cipollone, Calvin Roskelley, Yoshimi Takai, Peter K. Nicholls, Peter G. Stanton, Wanyin Deng, B. Brett Finlay, A. Wayne Vogl
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Abstract

Tubulobulbar complexes are cytoskeleton-related membrane structures that develop at sites of intercellular attachment in mammalian seminiferous epithelium. At apical junctions between Sertoli cells and spermatids, the structures internalize adhesion junctions and are a component of the sperm release mechanism. Here we explore the possibility that tubulobulbar complexes that form at the blood-testis barrier are subcellular machines that internalize basal junction complexes. Using electron microscopy, we confirmed that morphologically identifiable tight and gap junctions are present in basal tubulobulbar complexes in rats. In addition, immunological probes for claudin-11 (CLDN11), connexin-43 (GJA1), and nectin-2 (PVRL2) react with linear structures at the light level that we interpret as tubulobulbar complexes, and probes for early endosome antigen 1 (EEA1) and Rab5 (RAB5A) react in similar locations. Significantly, fluorescence patterns for actin and claudin-11 indicate that the amount of junction present is dramatically reduced over the time period that tubulobulbar complexes are known to be most prevalent during spermatogenesis. We also demonstrated, using electron microscopy and fluorescence microscopy, that tubulobulbar complexes develop at basal junctions in primary cultures of Sertoli cells and that like their in vivo counterparts, the structures contain junction proteins. We use this culture system together with transfection techniques to show that junction proteins from one transfected cell occur in structures that project into adjacent nontransfected cells as predicted by the junction internalization hypothesis. On the basis of our findings, we present a new model for basal junction remodeling as it relates to spermatocyte translocation in the seminiferous epithelium.

Min Du, J'Nelle Young, Marc De Asis, Jane Cipollone, Calvin Roskelley, Yoshimi Takai, Peter K. Nicholls, Peter G. Stanton, Wanyin Deng, B. Brett Finlay, and A. Wayne Vogl "A Novel Subcellular Machine Contributes to Basal Junction Remodeling in the Seminiferous Epithelium," Biology of Reproduction 88(3), (9 January 2013). https://doi.org/10.1095/biolreprod.112.104851
Received: 21 September 2012; Accepted: 1 January 2013; Published: 9 January 2013
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KEYWORDS
Cell culture
cytoskeleton
Sertoli cells
spermatogenesis
testis
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