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Am J Physiol. 1998 Jun;274(6 Pt 1):C1708-17.

Occludin is concentrated at tight junctions of mouse/rat but not human/guinea pig Sertoli cells in testes.

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Department of Cell Biology, Faculty of Medicine, Kyoto University, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606, Japan.


Occludin is the only integral membrane protein identified to date as a component of tight junctions (TJs). Here, we examined the distribution and expression of occludin in murine testis bearing well-developed TJ. In the adult mouse testis, occludin was concentrated at TJ strands, which are located at the most basal regions of lateral membranes of Sertoli cells. In immunoblotting, occludin showed a characteristic multiple banding pattern, suggesting that occludin is highly phosphorylated in the testis. In 1-wk-old mouse testis, occludin was distributed diffusely at the lateral membranes of Sertoli cells, and even at this stage, highly phosphorylated occludin was detected. With development, occludin gradually became concentrated at the most basal regions of Sertoli cells. The same results were obtained in rat, but unexpectedly occludin was not detected in human or guinea pig Sertoli cells by immunofluorescence microscopy as well as by immunoblotting. Inasmuch as TJs are also well developed in Sertoli cells of these species, we concluded that, at least in the testes of these species, there are some Sertoli cell-specific isoforms of occludin or other TJ-associated integral membrane proteins that differ from occludin.

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