Lonidamine-ethyl ester-mediated remodelling of the Sertoli cell cytoskeleton induces phosphorylation of plakoglobin and promotes its interaction with α-catenin at the blood–testis barrier
Several compounds affect male fertility by disrupting the adhesion of germ cells to Sertoli cells, which results in the release of undeveloped germ cells into the seminiferous tubule lumen that are incapable of fertilising the ovum. Indazole carboxylic acids are one class of compounds exhibiting such effects and they have been investigated as non-hormonal contraceptives for potential human use. The aims of this study were to investigate the effects of lonidamine-ethyl ester, an indazole carboxylic acid, on spermatogenesis and cell junctions, in particular, desmosomes. We found two doses of lonidamine-ethyl ester at 50 mg kg^–1 to disrupt Sertoli–germ cell adhesion. By light and fluorescent microscopy, pronounced changes were observed in the distribution of actin microfilaments and intermediate filaments, as well as in the localisation of plakoglobin, a protein with structural and signalling roles at the desmosome and adherens junction at the blood–testis barrier. Furthermore, immunoblotting and immunoprecipitation experiments using testis lysates revealed a significant upregulation (P < 0.01) of plakoglobin and Tyr-phosphorylated plakoglobin. Co-immunoprecipitation experiments showed an increase in the interaction between plakoglobin and fyn proto-oncogene, an Src family non-receptor tyrosine kinase, after treatment, as well as an increase in the interaction between plakoglobin and α-catenin. Taken collectively, these data indicate that a disruption of Sertoli cell and spermatocyte–spermatid adhesion in the seminiferous epithelium by lonidamine-ethyl ester results in the phosphorylation of plakoglobin, thereby promoting its interaction with α-catenin at the blood–testis barrier.