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Cell Tissue Res. 1992 Jun;268(3):471-8.

Receptor-mediated and absorptive endocytosis by male germ cells of different mammalian species.

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Laboratoire d'Histologie-Embryologie, CHU Paris Ouest, France.


The routes for adsorptive and receptor-mediated endocytosis were studied in vivo after microinjection of tracers into the lumen of the seminiferous tubules, and in vitro in isolated germ cells of different mammals. Cationic ferritin was located on the plasma membrane, in vesicles, in tubules, in multivesicular bodies and in lysosome-like granules of mouse spermatocytes. In these cells the number of multivesicular bodies varied during spermatogenesis. Spermatids and to a lesser extent residual bodies also performed adsorptive endocytosis. In the rat and monkey (Macaca fascicularis) diferric transferrin was specifically taken up by germ cells via receptor-mediated endocytosis. The labelling was observed subsequently in membrane pits, vesicles, endosome-like bodies and pale multivesicular bodies. A progressive decrease in the frequency of the labelling of the germ cells by transferrin-gold particles was observed from spermatogonia to spermatocytes and to early spermatids, which could indicate that iron is particularly required by germ cells during the mitotic and meiotic processes. Adsorptive and receptor-mediated endocytosis therefore occurs in all classes of germ cells. These endocytic processes are most probably required for germ cell division, differentiation and metabolism.

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