Slc15a1 is involved in the transport of synthetic F5-peptide into the seminiferous epithelium in adult rat testes

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Spermiation and BTB restructuring, two critical cellular events that occur across seminiferous epithelium in mammalian testis during spermatogenesis, are tightly coordinated by biologically active peptides released from laminin chains. Our earlier study reported that F5-peptide, synthesized based on a stretch of 50 amino acids within laminin-γ3 domain IV, could reversibly induce the impairment of spermatogenesis, disruption of BTB integrity, and germ cell loss, and thus is a promising male contraceptive. However, how F5-peptide when administered intratesticularly enters seminiferous tubules and exerts effects beyond BTB is currently unknown. Here we demonstrated that Slc15a1, a peptide transporter also known as Pept1, was predominantly present in peritubular myoid cells, interstitial Leydig cells, vascular endothelial cells and germ cells, while absent in Sertoli cells or BTB site. The steady-state protein level of Slc15a1 in adult rat testis was not affected by F5-peptide treatment. Knockdown of Slc15a1 by in vivo RNAi in rat testis was shown to prevent F5-peptide induced disruptive effects on spermatogenesis. This study suggests that Slc15a1 is involved in the transport of synthetic F5-peptide into seminiferous epithelium, and thus Slc15a1 is a novel target in testis that could be genetically modified to improve the bioavailability of F5-peptide as a prospective male contraceptive.