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Anat Rec. 1999 Mar;254(3):418-28.

Plectin is concentrated at intercellular junctions and at the nuclear surface in morphologically differentiated rat Sertoli cells.

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Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


Intermediate filaments in Sertoli cells have a well-defined pattern of distribution. They form a basally situated perinuclear network from which filaments extend peripherally to adhesion plaques at the plasma membrane and to sites of codistribution with other major elements of the cytoskeleton, particularly with microtubules. Although the general pattern of intermediate filament distribution is known, the molecular components involved with linking the filaments to organelles and attachment plaques in these cells have not been identified. One candidate for such a linking element is plectin. In this study we test for the presence of, and determine the distribution of, plectin in Sertoli cells of the rat testis. Fixed frozen sections and fixed epithelial fragments of rat testis were probed for plectin and vimentin using antibodies. Tissue was evaluated using standard fluorescence microscopy and confocal microscopy. Plectin in Sertoli cells was concentrated in a narrow zone surrounding the nucleus, and at focal sites, presumably desmosome-like plaques, at interfaces with adjacent cells. Plectin was also concentrated at sites where intermediate filament bundles project into specialized actin-filament containing plaques at sites of attachment to elongate spermatids. Plectin in Sertoli cells is concentrated at the nuclear surface and in junction plaques associated with the plasma membrane. The pattern of distribution is consistent with plectin being involved with linking intermediate filaments centrally (basally) to the nucleus and peripherally to intercellular attachment sites.

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