Usp9x, an X-linked deubiquitylating enzyme, is stage dependently expressed in the supporting cells (i.e. Sertoli cells and granulosa cells) and germ cells during mouse gametogenesis. Af-6, a cell junction protein, has been identified as a substrate of Usp9x, suggesting a possible association between Usp9x and Af-6 in spermatogenesis and oogenesis. In this study, we examined the expression pattern of Af-6 and Usp9x and their intracellular localization in testes and ovaries of mice treated with or without pregnant mare serum gonadotropin (PMSG), an FSH-like hormone. In both testes and ovaries, Af-6 expression was predominantly observed in supporting cells, as well as in steroidogenic cells, but not in any germ cells. In Sertoli cells, Af-6 was continuously expressed throughout postnatal and adult stages, where both Af-6 and Usp9x were enriched at the sites of Sertoli-Sertoli and Sertoli-spermatid junctions especially at stages XI-VI. In the granulosa cells, Af-6, as well as Usp9x, was highly expressed in primordial and primary follicles, but its expression rapidly decreased after the late-secondary follicle stage. Interestingly, in PMSG-treated mice, the expression levels of Af-6 and Usp9x were synchronously enhanced, slightly in Sertoli cells and strongly in granulosa cells of the late-secondary and Graafian follicles. Such closely correlated expression patterns between Af-6 and Usp9x clearly suggest that Af-6 may be deubiquitylated by Usp9x in both Sertoli and granulosa cells. It further suggests that be post-translational regulation of Af-6 by Usp9x may be one potential pathway to control the cell adhesion dynamics in mammalian gametogenesis.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Reproductive Medicine
- Obstetrics and Gynaecology
- Cell Biology