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Low retinoic acid levels mediate regionalization of the Sertoli valve in the terminal segment of mouse seminiferous tubules.

ABSTRACT: In mammalian testes, undifferentiated spermatogonia (Aundiff) undergo differentiation in response to retinoic acid (RA), while their progenitor states are partially maintained by fibroblast growth factors (FGFs). Sertoli valve (SV) is a region located at the terminal end of seminiferous tubule (ST) adjacent to the rete testis (RT), where the high density of Aundiff is constitutively maintained with the absence of active spermatogenesis. However, the molecular and cellular characteristics of SV epithelia still remain unclear. In this study, we first identified the region-specific AKT phosphorylation in the SV Sertoli cells and demonstrated non-cell autonomous specialization of Sertoli cells in the SV region by performing a Sertoli cell ablation/replacement experiment. The expression of Fgf9 was detected in the RT epithelia, while the exogenous administration of FGF9 caused ectopic AKT phosphorylation in the Sertoli cells of convoluted ST. Furthermore, we revealed the SV region-specific expression of Cyp26a1, which encodes an RA-degrading enzyme, and demonstrated that the increased RA levels in the SV region disrupt its pool of Aundiff by inducing their differentiation. Taken together, RT-derived FGFs and low levels of RA signaling contribute to the non-cell-autonomous regionalization of the SV epithelia and its local maintenance of Aundiff in the SV region.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7806815 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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