Mice stage-specific claudin 3 expression regulates progression of meiosis in early stage spermatocytes

Masataka Chihara, Ryoyo Ikebuchi, Saori Otsuka, Osamu Ichii, Yoshiharu Hashimoto, Atsushi Suzuki, Yumiko Saga, Yasuhiro Kon
Biology of Reproduction 2013, 89 (1): 3
Claudin 3 is a protein component of the tight junction strands. Tight junctions between adjacent Sertoli cells form the blood-testis barrier (BTB). During spermatogenesis, seminiferous stage-specific expression of claudin 3 is believed to regulate the migration of preleptotene/leptotene spermatocytes across the BTB. Here, we determined the cell types expressing claudin 3 in adult mouse testis and investigated spermatogenesis after testis-specific in vivo knockdown of claudin 3. The results of in situ hybridization revealed that claudin 3 mRNA was predominantly expressed in germ cells near the basal lamina of seminiferous tubules at stages VI-IX. Furthermore, claudin 3 protein was localized not only to the BTB but also to the cell membrane of STRA8-expressing preleptotene/leptotene spermatocytes in the testis of adult ICR.Cg-Tg(Stra8-EGFP)1Ysa/YsaRbrc mice. Although claudin 3 knockdown did not affect BTB integrity, it did cause a partial delay in spermatocyte migration across the BTB. Moreover, claudin 3 knockdown resulted in a prolonged preleptotene phase during spermatogenesis. These data indicate that the seminiferous stage-specific expression and localization of claudin 3 during spermatogenesis regulate the progression of meiosis by promoting germ cell migration across the BTB.

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