Drebrin and spermatogenesis

Haiqi Chen, Population Council
Michelle W.M. Li
C. Yan Cheng, Population Council


Drebrin is a family of actin-binding proteins with two known members called drebrin A and E. Apart from the ability to stabilize F-actin microfilaments via their actin-binding domains near the N-terminus, drebrin also regulates multiple cellular functions due to its unique ability to recruit multiple binding partners to a specific cellular domain, such as the seminiferous epithelium during the epithelial cycle of spermatogenesis. Recent studies have illustrated the role of drebrin E in the testis during spermatogenesis in particular via its ability to recruit branched actin polymerization protein known as actin-related protein 3 (Arp3), illustrating its involvement in modifying the organization of actin microfilaments at the ectoplasmic specialization (ES) which includes the testis-specific anchoring junction at the Sertoli-spermatid (apical ES) interface and at the Sertoli cell-cell (basal ES) interface. These data are carefully evaluated in light of other recent findings herein regarding the role of drebrin in actin filament organization at the ES. We also provide the hypothetical model regarding its involvement in germ cell transport during the epithelial cycle in the seminiferous epithelium to support spermatogenesis.