Cell-cell interactions at the ectoplasmic specialization in the testis

Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Nov;15(9):439-47. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2004.09.009.


During spermatogenesis, the movement of developing germ cells across the seminiferous epithelium involves the restructuring of adherens junctions that form between Sertoli cells and between Sertoli and germ cells such as the ectoplasmic specialization (ES). At the ultrastructural level, the ES has been thoroughly studied for the past three decades. Until recently, however, relatively little has been known about the molecular architecture, not to mention the mechanism, that regulates the ES. Recent findings in the field have highlighted several areas of research that deserve attention in future studies. For example, proteins that constitute the ES can be targeted to compromise cell adhesion. This approach will not only provide a better understanding of ES dynamics, but also will yield innovative approaches for the development of male contraceptives.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Communication / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Spermatogenesis / physiology*
  • Testis / cytology*
  • Testis / physiology*