288 THE EXPRESSION PATTERN OF ACETYLATED ALPHA-TUBULIN IS CONSERVED IN PORCINE AND MURINE SPERMATOGONIAL STEM CELLS
J. Luo, S. Megee and I. Dobrinski
Reproduction, Fertility and Development
20(1) 223 - 224
Published: 12 December 2007
During mammalian spermatogenesis, spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) reside in the stem cell niche on the basement membrane where they undergo self-renewing divisions. Differentiating daughter cells are located progressively more toward the tubular lumen where they ultimately form spermatozoa. The mechanisms responsible for maintenance of SSCs at the basement membrane are unclear. Microtubules consisting of α/β-tubulin heterodimers are associated with many cellular functions. Reversible acetylation of α-tubulin at Lys40 has been implicated in regulating microtubule stability and function. Acetylation of α-tubulin is abundant in stable microtubules but absent from dynamic cellular structures. Deacetylation of α-tubulin is controlled by histone deacetylase 6 which is predominantly expressed in mouse testis. Here, we tested the hypothesis that differential acetylation of α-tubulin might be involved in maintenance of SSCs. Immunohistochemistry for acetylated α-tubulin (Ac-α-Tu) and the spermatogonia specific proteins PGP 9.5, DAZL, and PLZF were used to characterize the expression pattern of Ac-α-Tu in porcine and murine germ cells at different stages of testis development. In immature boar testes, Ac-α-Tu was present exclusively in gonocytes but not in other testicular cells at 1 week of age, and in a subset of spermatogonia at 10 weeks of age. At this age, spermatogonia are migrating to the basement membrane of the seminiferous tubules, and Ac-α-Tu appeared to be polarized toward the basement membrane. In immature mouse testes, Ac-α-Tu was present in germ cells and Sertoli cells at 6 days of age, whereas at 2 weeks of age, Ac-α-Tu expression was stronger in spermatogonia co-expressing PGP 9.5 and in spermatocytes than in Sertoli cells or PGP 9.5-negative spermatogonia. In adult boar and mouse testes, Ac-α-Tu was detected in a few single or paired spermatogonia expressing PGP 9.5 localized on the basement membrane as well as in spermatocytes, spermatids, and spermatozoa. Spermatogonia with high levels of Ac-α-Tu expressed PLZF but did not express DAZL, suggesting that only undifferentiated spermatogonia maintain a high level of Ac-α-Tu. When seminiferous tubules from 1-week-old and adult boar testes were maintained in vitro for 1–2 days, high levels of Ac-α-Tu were detected in single or paired round spermatogonia with a large nucleus, compared to low levels in elongated paired and aligned spermatogonia. The unique expression pattern of Ac-α-Tu in undifferentiated germ cells during postnatal development appears to be conserved in mammalian testes. Since Ac-α-Tu is a component of long-lived stable microtubules and reducing acetylation of α-tubulin enhances cell motility, these results suggest that stabilization of microtubules might contribute to the maintenance of spermatogonial stem cells.
This work was supported by 1R01 RR 17359-05.
Full text doi:10.1071/RDv20n1Ab288
© CSIRO 2008