Kruppel-like factor 6 regulates Sertoli cell blood-testis barrier

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Blood-testis barrier (BTB) that is constructed by testicular Sertoli cells (SCs) is essential for spermatogenesis. Krüppel-like factor 6 (Klf6), a nuclear transcription regulator, is reported to be associated with tight junction molecules of BTB between SCs during spermatogenesis; however, the specific regulatory role and mechanism of Klf6 in BTB regulation are still unknown. Here, we primarily confirmed the temporal and spatial expression patterns of Klf6 in mouse testes. Then, Klf6 was silenced in mouse cultured SCs using either Klf6-siRNA or Klf6-shRNA lentivirus. We mainly found that: (i) Klf6 was indispensable for the proliferative activity of mouse SCs; (ii) Klf6 regulated the integrity and permeability of BTB; (iii) Klf6 knockdown led to the significant upregulation of Zo-1, Claudin-11 and Vimentin, and downregulation of Claudin-3. Furthermore, Zo-1 and Claudin-3, participated in the tight junction remolding, were determined as targets of transcription factor Klf6 by luciferase assay. In summary, our findings suggest that Klf6 regulates the BTB assembly and disassembly via mainly targeting Zo-1 and Claudin-3 in mouse SCs.


PMID: 31136981