Polarity protein Crumbs homolog-3 (CRB3) regulates ectoplasmic specialization dynamics through its action on F-actin organization in Sertoli cells

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Crumbs homolog 3 (or Crumbs3, CRB3) is a polarity protein expressed by Sertoli and germ cells at the basal compartment in the seminiferous epithelium. CRB3 also expressed at the blood-testis barrier (BTB), co-localized with F-actin, TJ proteins occludin/ZO-1 and basal ES (ectoplasmic specialization) proteins N-cadherin/β-catenin at stages IV-VII only. The binding partners of CRB3 in the testis were the branched actin polymerization protein Arp3, and the barbed end-capping and bundling protein Eps8, illustrating its possible role in actin organization. CRB3 knockdown (KD) by RNAi in Sertoli cells with an established tight junction (TJ)-permeability barrier perturbed the TJ-barrier via changes in the distribution of TJ- and basal ES-proteins at the cell-cell interface. These changes were the result of CRB3 KD-induced re-organization of actin microfilaments, in which actin microfilaments were truncated, and extensively branched, thereby destabilizing F-actin-based adhesion protein complexes at the BTB. Using Polyplus in vivo-jetPEI as a transfection medium with high efficiency for CRB3 KD in the testis, the CRB3 KD testes displayed defects in spermatid and phagosome transport, and also spermatid polarity due to a disruption of F-actin organization. In summary, CRB3 is an actin microfilament regulator, playing a pivotal role in organizing actin filament bundles at the ES.






The Biology of Blood–Testis Barrier Dynamics