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Reprod Sci. 2012 Feb;19(2):190-201. doi: 10.1177/1933719111417886. Epub 2011 Nov 3.

Interaction between Smad1 and p97/VCP in rat testis and epididymis during the postnatal development.

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Department of Histology and Embryology, Gaziosmanpasa University, Tokat, Turkey.


Members of the bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) superfamily are expressed in the testis and epididymis and are believed to have different biological functions during testicular and epididymal development. Smad1 is one of the signal transducers of BMP signaling and binds to several proteins involved in ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS). Valosin-containing protein (p97/VCP) is required for the degradation of some UPS substrates. Although p97/VCP has been indicated in different cellular pathways, its association with BMP signaling in male reproductive system has not been elucidated. The aim of the present study was to investigate the cellular localization of Smad1, phospho-Smad1, and p97/VCP and the interaction of proteins in the postnatal rat testis and epididymis. Testicular and epididymal tissues from 5-, 15- and 60-day-old rats were examined by immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence, Western blotting, and immunoprecipitation techniques. In 5-day-old rat testis, Smad1, phospho-Smad1, and p97/VCP were mainly expressed in gonocytes. In 15- and 60-day-old rat testis, proteins were overlapped in spermatogonia, Sertoli cells, and spermatocytes. Expression of proteins in the epithelial cells of epididymis was gradually increased from 5 to 15 days of age. Smad1 and phospho-Smad1 expressions showed uniformity in the different regions of epididymis, however p97/VCP immunoreactivity was higher only in caput epididymis compared to corpus and cauda epididymis in 15- and 60-day-old rat epididymis. Co-immunoprecipitation experiments further confirmed the Smad1-p97/VCP and p-Smad1-p97/VCP interactions. The overlap between Smad1 and p97/VCP expressions in the postnatal rat testis and epididymis suggests that p97/VCP may play important roles in mediating BMP signaling during spermatogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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