The met protooncogene encodes the hepatocyte growth factor receptor (HGFR, c-met). C-met, a tyrosine kinase receptor protein, is widely expressed in different cell types including the male reproductive tract. As we recently demonstrated, both c-met messenger RNA and protein are expressed in prebuberal rat testis. The aim of this work was to detect the expression of c-met during postnatal testis development and to study its functional role. Our findings show that in total rat testis e-met is expressed during postnatal life until the sexual maturation of the animals. To evaluate the receptor expression in the different cell types in the testis, homogeneous cell populations of Sertoli and peritubular myoid cells were isolated from the seminiferous tubules of 10- and 35-day-old animals. c-met gene is expressed in myoid cells at the ages considered and its expression decreases with increasing age. By contrast, in Sertoli cells c-met expression is first detectable at 25 days of Life and its expression increases with the increasing age being well evident at 35 days of age. C-met protein was detected by immunocytochemistry and its expression correlates with gene expression. The receptor is functionally active because HGF administration induces morphological changes in myoid cells and in c-met-expressing Sertoli cells. As a consequence of HGF addition, Sertoli cells cultured on reconstituted basement membrane reorganize into cord-like structures that resemble testicular seminiferous cords. The data here reported demonstrate for the first: time that in Sertoli cells c-met expression is developmentally regulated being present and functionally active in postpuberal Sertoli cells. Given that c-met expression persists in myoid cells during postnatal testis development and that in Sertoli cells its expression correlates over time with germ cell differentiation and lumen formation, we conclude that the c-met/HGF system is involved in testis development and function.
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|Titolo:||Expression and functional role of hepatocyte growth factor receptor (C-MET) during postnatal rat testis development|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2001|
|Appartiene alla tipologia:||01a Articolo in rivista|