Regulation of cell junction dynamics by cytokines in the testis—A molecular and biochemical perspective

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Studies in the past decade in the field have demonstrated the significance of cytokines in regulating epithelial and endothelial cell junctions including tight and anchoring junctions in multiple organs including the testis. There are mounting evidences in recent years that cytokines play a crucial role in the restructuring of junctions at the Sertoli-Sertoli and Sertoli-germ cell interface in the seminiferous epithelium during spermatogenesis. These earlier studies, however, were focused on the effects of cytokines in maintaining the steady-state protein levels of integral membrane proteins at the sites of the blood-testis barrier (BTB) and anchoring junctions at the Sertoli-Sertoli and Sertoli-germ cell interface, such as basal and apical ectoplasmic specialization, respectively. The molecular pathway(s) and/or mechanism(s) underlying these effects remained virtually unexplored until very recently. Herein, we summarize and provide some discussions on studies that focused on the role of cytokines in regulating junction restructuring events in epithelia from a molecular and biochemical perspective. Specifically, we use the adult rat or mouse testis as a model to highlight the significance of transcriptional and translational regulation. Specific areas of research that require further attentions are also highlighted.