Purinergic signalling mobilizes mitochondrial Ca²⁺ in mouse Sertoli cells

J Physiol. 2011 Nov 1;589(Pt 21):5033-55. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2011.216309. Epub 2011 Aug 22.


Intimate bidirectional communication between Sertoli cells and developing germ cells ensures the integrity and efficiency of spermatogenesis. Yet, a conceptual mechanistic understanding of the physiological principles that underlie Sertoli cell autocrine and paracrine signalling is lacking. Here, we characterize a purinergic Ca(2+) signalling network in immature mouse Sertoli cells that consists of both P2X2 and P2Y2 purinoceptor subtypes, the endoplasmic reticulum and, notably, mitochondria. By combining a transgenic mouse model with a dedicated bioluminescence imaging device, we describe a novel method to monitor mitochondrial Ca(2+) mobilization in Sertoli cells at subcellular spatial and millisecond temporal resolution. Our data identify mitochondria as essential components of the Sertoli cell signalling 'toolkit' that control the shape of purinergic Ca(2+) responses, and probably several other paracrine Ca(2+)-dependent signals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Calcium / physiology
  • Calcium Signaling / physiology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Mitochondria / physiology*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X2 / physiology*
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2Y2 / physiology*
  • Sertoli Cells / physiology*


  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X2
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2Y2
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Calcium