A seamless trespass: Germ cell migration across the seminiferous epithelium during spermatogenesis
Wang,Claire Q.F.; Cheng,Chuen-yan
Journal of Cell Biology 178(4): 549-556
Publication date: 2007
During spermatogenesis, preleptotene spermatocytes traversethe blood-testis barrier (BTB) in the seminiferous epithelium,which is reminiscent of viral pathogens breaking through thetight junctions of host epithelial cells. The process also closelyresembles the migration of leukocytes across endothelial tightjunctions to reach inflammation sites. Cell adhesion moleculesof the immunoglobulin superfamily (e.g., JAM/CAR/nectin) participatein germ cell migration by conferring transient adhesion betweenSertoli and germ cells through homophilic and heterophilic interactions.The same molecules also comprise the junctional complexes atthe BTB. Interestingly, JAM/CAR/nectin molecules mediate virusuptake and leukocyte transmigration in strikingly similar manners.It is likely that the strategy used by viruses and leukocytesto break through junctional barriers is used by germ cells toopen up the inter-Sertoli cell junctions. In associatingthese diverse cellular events, we highlight the "guiding" roleof JAM/CAR/nectin molecules for germ cell passage. Knowledgeon viral invasion and leukocyte transmigration has also shedinsights into germ cell movement during spermatogenesis.