Establishment and functional characterization of a murine primary Sertoli cell line deficient of connexin43
The Sertoli cell (SC) specific connexin43 (Cx43) knockout (SCCx43KO) mouse line is ideal to gain insight into the mechanistic gap junction formation in SC and the seminiferous epithelium. A method for developing primary SC cultures from these mice was established, validated and successfully characterized via polymerase chain reaction, immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence (IF), and Western blots (WB). It was evident that both knockout (KO) and wild-type (WT) primary cell cultures were similar in morphology. These highly pure SC cultures were subjected to cell proliferation assays indicating no notable proliferation in cultures of both genotypes. Measurements of cell monolayer integrity indicated significant increases in transepithelial electrical resistance and consequently in tight junction expression of the KO cultures. Using semi-quantitative WB and IF, tight junction protein claudin-11 was analyzed. These results support a role for Cx43 in regulating blood-testis barrier (BTB) function, composition, and dynamics in vitro. Thus, the SC deficient Cx43 cell cultures may provide a valuable in vitro tool for a better understanding of the mechanistic role of Cx43 in spermatogenesis and BTB assembly.