Planar cell polarity (PCP) proteins and spermatogenesis

Document Type

Article (peer-reviewed)

Publication Date



In adult mammalian testes, spermatogenesis is composed of several discrete cellular events that work in tandem to support the transformation and differentiation of diploid spermatogonia to haploid spermatids during the seminiferous epithelial cycle. These include: self-renewal of spermatogonial stem cells via mitosis and their transformation into differentiated spermatogonia, meiosis I/II, spermiogenesis and the release of sperms at spermiation. Studies have shown that these cellular events are under precise and coordinated controls of multiple proteins and signaling pathways. These events are also regulated by polarity proteins that are known to confer classical apico-basal (A/B) polarity in other epithelia. Furthermore, spermatid development is likely supported by planar cell polarity (PCP) proteins since polarized spermatids are aligned across the plane of seminiferous epithelium in an orderly fashion, analogous to hair cells in the cochlea of the inner ear. Thus, the maximal number of spermatids can be packed and supported by a fixed population of differentiated Sertoli cells in adult testes in the limited space of the seminiferous epithelium. In this review, we briefly summarize recent findings regarding the role of PCP proteins in the testis. This information should be helpful in future studies to better understand the role of PCP proteins in spermatogenesis.