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Arch Histol Cytol. 1998 Dec;61(5):405-15.

Stage-specific localization of basigin, a member of the immunoglobulin superfamily, during mouse spermatogenesis.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, Chiba University School of Medicine, Japan.


Ablation of the transmembrane glycoprotein basigin leads to azoospermic mice, indicating that this gene is essential for spermatogenesis. To examine the functions of basigin in the testis, the precise localization of basigin during spermatogenesis was examined immunohistochemically. In the adult mouse testis, basigin immunoreactivity appeared on the cell surface of leptotene spermatocytes and gradually increased in intensity during the meiotic prophase. Cytoplasmic staining, as well as cell surface staining, was detected in spermatids. The most conspicuous reactivity was found in the spermatids at steps 9-11 and in the flagella of spermatids. Immuno-electron microscopic analysis demonstrated that basigin was localized not only on the plasma membranes of spermatocytes and spermatids, but also on the plasma membrane of the Sertoli cell processes which contact the spermatocytes and spermatids. Basigin immunoreactivity was also detected during postnatal development in spermatocytes and spermatids but not in spermatogonia. Experimental cryptorchid testes which contain only spermatogonia and Sertoli cells in the seminiferous epithelium showed no basigin immunoreactivity. Seven days after surgical reversal of the cryptorchid testis, spermatocytes reappeared in the tubules, along with basigin immunoreactivity. Furthermore, in sterile mutant mice, in which neither spermatocytes nor spermatids were generated, no basigin immunoreactivity was detected in the seminiferous tubules. These findings indicate that expression of basigin is concomitant with appearance of spermatocytes in the seminiferous tubule, and suggest that basigin is involved in the interaction between Sertoli cells and germ cells at specific stages of spermatogenesis.

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