Coxsackie and adenovirus receptor (CAR) is a product of Sertoli and germ cells in rat testes which is localized at the Sertoli-Sertoli and Sertoli-germ cell interface

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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The coxsackie and adenovirus receptor (CAR), a putative cell-cell adhesion molecule, has attracted wide interest due to its importance in viral pathogenesis and in mediating adenoviral gene delivery. However, the distribution pattern and physiological function of CAR in the testis is still not clear. Here, we identified CAR in Sertoli cells and germ cells of rats. In vivo studies have shown that CAR resides at the blood-testis barrier as well as at the ectoplasmic specialization. The persistent expression of CAR in rat testes from neonatal period throughout adulthood implicates its role in spermatogenesis. Using primary Sertoli cell cultures, we observed a significant induction of CAR during the formation of Sertoli cell epithelium. Furthermore, CAR was seen to be concentrated at inter-Sertoli cell junctions, co-localizing with tight junction protein marker ZO-1 and adherens junction protein N-cadherin. CAR was also found to be associated with proteins of Src kinase family and its protein level declined after TNFα treatment in Sertoli cell cultures. Immunofluorescent staining of isolated germ cells has revealed the presence of CAR on spermatogonia, spermatocytes, round spermatids and elongate spermatids. Taken together, we propose that CAR functions as an adhesion molecule in maintaining the inter-Sertoli cell junctions at the basal compartment of the seminiferous epithelium. In addition, CAR may confer adhesion between Sertoli and germ cells at the Sertoli-germ cell interface. It is possible that the receptor utilized by viral pathogens to breakthrough the epithelial barrier was also employed by developing germ cells to migrate through the inter-Sertoli cell junctions.