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Am J Physiol. 1998 Apr;274(4 Pt 1):C922-30.

Sertoli cell expression of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Columbia 29208, USA.

Abstract

Mutations of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene have been associated with a number of male reproductive problems, including testis abnormalities and a reduction in germ cell quality and number. To establish at least one site of functional CFTR expression in the testis, we subjected cultured Sertoli cells to analysis of message, protein, and channel activity for CFTR. With reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, we obtained evidence for the presence of CFTR RNA when CFTR primers were used with RNA from cultured Sertoli cells. Western analysis performed with both anti-R and anti-C domain CFTR antibodies revealed immunoreactive material in extracts from primary Sertoli cell cultures that seemed consistent with CFTR previously identified in other cells and tissues. This led us to perform more detailed studies using the whole cell arrangement of the patch-clamp technique. Application of the membrane-soluble cAMP analog, 8-chlorophenyl-thio-cAMP, resulted in the activation of a Cl- current that displayed a permeability sequence of Br- > I- > or = Cl- and was blocked by diphenylamine-2-carboxylate and glibenclamide. In addition, a 13-pS conductance Cl- channel was measured in excised membrane patches exposed to the catalytic subunit of protein kinase A. When taken together, our findings of evidence of CFTR message, immunoreactive material that appeared consistent with CFTR, and Cl- channels with properties similar to those reported for CFTR provide strong evidence that Sertoli cells express a functional CFTR-like protein. The presence of CFTR in these cells may be needed to maintain the specific nutritional and fluid balance in the seminiferous tubule that is vital for normal spermatogenesis.

PMID:
9575788
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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