In the mammalian postnatal testis, the biochemical and structural features of Sertoli cells change, depending on developmental stage and spermatogenic cycle, to support efficient spermatogenesis. Consequently, basic transcription factors that determine fundamental properties should be strictly maintained in postnatal Sertoli cells. We have confirmed that GATA-4 expression is kept at a constant level in mouse Sertoli cells during postnatal development, and is also maintained at a constant level in primary cultures, independent of treatment with hormones or the addition of germ cell fractions. In transient transfection assays with the testicular cell line TM3, established from Leydig cells, GATA-4 induced several Sertoli cell-specific genes. In the Sertoli cell line TM4, and in Sertoli cells in primary culture, GATA-4 slightly up-regulated these genes. These results suggest that GATA-4 plays an important role in the regulation of Sertoli cell function, and is exactly regulated in these cells.
- Sertoli cell