Spermiation, the sperm release process, is imperative to male fertility and reproduction. Morphologically, it is characterized by removal of atypical adherens junctions called ectoplasmic specializations, and formation of transient endocytic devices called tubulobulbar complexes requiring cytoskeleton remodeling and recruitment of proteins needed for endocytosis. Earlier, estrogen administration to adult male rats was seen to cause spermiation failure due to disruption of tubulobulbar complexes. This was accompanied by reduction in intratesticular testosterone levels and increase in intratesticular estrogen along with deregulation of genes involved in cytoskeleton remodeling (. Arpc1b, Evl and Capg) and endocytosis (. Picalm, Eea1 and Stx5a). In the present study, we aim to understand the role of estrogen and androgen in regulating these genes independently using seminiferous tubule culture system treated with estrogen, androgen or agonists and antagonists of estrogen receptors. We find that transcripts of Arpc1b, Evl and Picalm are responsive to estrogen while those of Picalm, Eea1 and Stx5a are responsive to androgen. We also find that the estrogen regulation of Arpc1b and Evl is mediated through estrogen receptor β and that of Picalm occurs through estrogen receptors α and β. Localization of these proteins at or in the vicinity of tubulobulbar complexes reveals that ARPC1B, EVL, PICALM, EEA1 and STX5A seem to be involved in spermiation. Thus, estrogen and androgen regulate specific genes in seminiferous tubules that could play a role in spermiation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology