Regulation of actin dynamics and protein trafficking during spermatogenesis—Insights into a complex process

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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In the mammalian testis, extensive restructuring takes place across the seminiferous epithelium at the Sertoli–Sertoli and Sertoli–germ cell interface during the epithelial cycle of spermatogenesis, which is important to facilitate changes in the cell shape and morphology of developing germ cells. However, precise communications also take place at the cell junctions to coordinate the discrete events pertinent to spermatogenesis, namely spermatogonial renewal via mitosis, cell cycle progression and meiosis, spermiogenesis and spermiation. It is obvious that these cellular events are intimately related to the underlying actin-based cytoskeleton which is being used by different cell junctions for their attachment. However, little is known on the biology and regulation of this cytoskeleton, in particular its possible involvement in endocytic vesicle-mediated trafficking during spermatogenesis, which in turn affects cell adhesive function and communication at the cell–cell interface. Studies in other epithelia in recent years have shed insightful information on the intimate involvement of actin dynamics and protein trafficking in regulating cell adhesion and communications. The goal of this critical review is to provide an updated assessment of the latest findings in the field on how these complex processes are being regulated during spermatogenesis. We also provide a working model based on the latest findings in the field including our laboratory to provide our thoughts on an apparent complicated subject, which also serves as the framework for investigators in the field. It is obvious that this model will be rapidly updated when more data are available in future years.