• Authors: Li, S. Y. T., Yan, M., Chen, H., Jesus, T., Lee, W. M., Xiao, X., Cheng, C. Y.
  • Year: 2018
  • Journal: Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab
  • Applications: in vivo / DNA / in vivo-jetPEI


In vivo transfection was performed by intratesticular injection using 50 µL transfection solution per testis, which 15 µg plasmid DNA together with 1.8 µL in vivo-jetPEI with a N/P ratio = 6. First day of transfection was arbitrarily set as day 0, followed by two additional transfections on day 4 and day 8 (3 in total). Rats were euthanized on day 12 and transfection efficiency was estimated in randomly selected tubules.


The blood-testis barrier (BTB), conferred by Sertoli cells in the mammalian testis, is an important ultrastructure that supports spermatogenesis. Studies using animal models have shown that a disruption of the BTB leads to meiotic arrest, causing defects in spermatogenesis and male infertility. To better understand the regulation of BTB dynamics, we report findings herein to understand the role of ribosomal protein S6 (rpS6), a downstream signaling protein of mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), in promoting BTB disruption in the testis in vivo, making the barrier "leaky." Overexpression of wild-type rpS6 (rpS6-WT, the full-length cDNA cloned into the mammalian expression vector pCI-neo) and a constitutively active quadruple phosphomimetic mutant cloned into pCI-neo (p-rpS6-MT) vs. control (empty pCI-neo vector) was achieved by transfecting adult rat testes with the corresponding plasmid DNA using a Polyplus in vivo-jetPEI transfection reagent. On the basis of an in vivo functional BTB integrity assay, p-rpS6-MT was found to induce BTB disruption better than rpS6-WT did (and no effects in empty vector control), leading to defects in spermatogenesis, including loss of spermatid polarity and failure in the transport of cells (e.g., spermatids) and organelles (e.g., phagosomes), to be followed by germ exfoliation. More important, rpS6-WT and p-rpS6-MT exert their disruptive effects through changes in the organization of actin- and microtubule (MT)-based cytoskeletons, which are mediated by changes in the spatiotemporal expression of actin- and MT-based binding and regulatory proteins. In short, mTORC1/rpS6 signaling complex is a regulator of spermatogenesis and BTB by modulating the organization of the actin- and MT-based cytoskeletons.