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Mol Reprod Dev. 2003 Feb;64(2):129-35.

Co-expression and interaction of cubilin and megalin in the adult male rat reproductive system.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Cubilin is a peripheral membrane protein that cooperates with the endocytic receptor megalin to mediate endocytosis of ligands in various polarized epithelia. Megalin is expressed in the male reproductive tract where it has been implicated in the process of sperm membrane remodeling. A potential role for cubilin in the male reproductive tract has not been explored. Using RT-PCR, we found that cubilin and megalin mRNAs are expressed in the efferent ducts, corpus and cauda epididymis, and proximal and distal vas deferens. Immunohistological analysis revealed that cubilin was expressed in nonciliated cells of the efferent ducts, principal cells of the corpus and cauda epididymis and vas deferens. Immunogold EM showed cubilin in endocytic pits, endocytic vesicles, and endosomes of these cells. The expression profile of cubilin in the male reproductive tract was coincident with that of megalin except in principal cells of the caput epididymis. Double immunogold labeling showed that cubilin and megalin co-localized within the endocytic apparatus and recycling vesicles of efferent duct cells. Neither protein was found in lysosomes. Injection of RAP, an antagonist of megalin interaction with cubilin, reduced the level of intracellular cubilin in cells of the efferent ducts and vas deferens. In conclusion, cubilin and megalin are co-expressed in cells of the epididymis and vas deferens and the endocytosis of cubilin in these tissues is dependent on megalin. Together, these findings highlight the potential for a joint endocytic role for cubilin and megalin in the male reproductive tract.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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