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Endocrinology. 2000 Feb;141(2):675-83.

Multiple cadherin superfamily members with unique expression profiles are produced in rat testis.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02912, USA.


Adhesion between germ and Sertoli cells is thought to be crucial for spermatogenesis. Cadherin superfamily proteins, including classic cadherins and protocadherins, are important mediators of cell-cell adhesion. Using a degenerate PCR cloning strategy, we surveyed the expression of cadherin superfamily members in rat testis. Similar to brain, testis expressed a large number of cadherin superfamily members: 7 classic cadherins of both types I and II, 14 protocadherins, 2 protocadherin-related cadherins, and 1 cadherin-related receptorlike protein. All three protocadherin families (alpha, beta, and gamma) were found in testis. Using a semiquantitative RT-PCR assay, messenger RNA expression was determined for each cadherin superfamily member during a postnatal developmental time-course and following ablation of specific testis cell types by ethanedimethanesulfonate, methoxyacetic acid, and 2,5-hexanedione. Diverse expression patterns were observed among the cadherins, suggesting that cadherin expression is cell type-specific in testis. The large number and variety of cadherin superfamily members found in testis supports a critical function for cadherin-mediated cell-cell adhesion in spermatogenesis.

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