Transcriptional regulation of cell adhesion at the blood-testis barrier and spermatogenesis in the testis

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Spermatogenesis involves precise co-ordination of multiple cellular events that take place in the seminiferous epithelium composed of Sertoli cells and developing germ cells during the seminiferous epithelial cycle. Given the cyclic and co-ordinated nature of spermatogenesis, temporal and spatial expression of certain genes pertinent to a specific cellular event are essential. As such, transcriptional regulation is one of the major regulatory machineries in controlling the cell type- and stage-specific gene expression, some of which are under the influence of gonadotropins (e.g., FSH and LH) and sex steroids (e.g., testosterone and estradiol-17β). Recent findings regarding transcriptional control of spermatogenesis, most notably target genes at the Sertoli-Sertoli and Sertoli-spermatid interface at the site of the blood-testis barrier (BTB) and apical ectoplasmic specialization (apical ES), respectively, involving in cell adhesion are reviewed and discussed herein. This is a much neglected area of research and a concerted effort by investigators is needed to understand transcriptional regulation of cell adhesion function in the testis particularly at the BTB during spermatogenesis.