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The cell–cell junctions of mammalian testes: II. The lamellar smooth muscle monolayer cells of the peritubular wall are laterally connected by vertical adherens junctions—a novel architectonic cell–cell junction system

Domke, Lisa M., Franke, Werner W.
Cell and tissue research 2019 v.375 no.2 pp. 451-482
actin, adherens junctions, beta catenin, boars, bulls, cadherins, cytoplasm, desmin, dystrophin, extracellular matrix, filamin, focal adhesions, guinea pigs, men, mice, myocytes, myosin, rats, seminiferous tubules, sexual maturity, smooth muscle, talin, tropomyosins, vimentin
The testes of sexually mature males of six mammalian species (men, bulls, boars, rats, mice, guinea pigs) have been studied using biochemical as well as light and electron microscopical techniques, in particular immunolocalizations. In these tissues, the peritubular walls represent lamellar encasement structures wrapped around the seminiferous tubules as a bandage system of extracellular matrix layers, alternating with monolayers of very flat polyhedral “lamellar smooth muscle cells” (LSMCs), the number of which varies in different species from 1 to 5 or 6. These LSMCs are complete SMCs containing smooth muscle α-actin (SMA), myosin light and heavy chains, α-actinin, tropomyosin, smoothelin, intermediate-sized filament proteins desmin and/or vimentin, filamin, talin, dystrophin, caldesmon, calponin, and protein SM22α, often also cytokeratins 8 and 18. In the monolayers, the LSMCs are connected by adherens junctions (AJs) based on cadherin-11, in some species also with P-cadherin and/or E-cadherin, which are anchored in cytoplasmic plaques containing β-catenin and other armadillo proteins, in some species also striatin family proteins, protein myozap and/or LUMA. The LSMC cytoplasm is rich in myofilament bundles, which in many regions are packed in paracrystalline arrays, as well as in “dense bodies,” “focal adhesions,” and caveolae. In addition to some AJ-like end-on-end contacts, the LSMCs are laterally connected by numerous vertical AJ-like junctions located in variously sized and variously shaped, overlapping (alter super alterum) lamelliform cell protrusions. Consequently, the LSMCs of the peritubular wall monolayers are SMCs sensu stricto which are laterally connected by a novel architectonic system of arrays of vertical AJs located in overlapping cell protrusions.