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Taranum Sultana, Mi Hou, Jan-Bernd Stukenborg, Virpi Töhönen, Jose Inzunza, Andrei S Chagin, and Kerstin Sollerbrant

The coxsackievirus and adenovirus receptor (CXADR (CAR)) is a cell adhesion molecule expressed mainly in epithelial cells. Numerous evidence indicate that CXADR has an important role in testis development and function of the blood–testis barrier (BTB) in vitro. The role of CXADR in testis physiology in vivo has, however, not been addressed. We therefore constructed a conditional CXADR knockout (cKO) mouse model in which CXADR can be depleted at any chosen timepoint by the administration of tamoxifen. We report for the first time that testicular depletion of CXADR in adult and pubertal mice does not alter BTB permeability or germ cell migration across the BTB during spermatogenesis. Adult cKO mice display normal junctional ultra-structure and localization of the junctional proteins claudin-3, occludin, junction-associated molecule-A (JAM-A), and ZO1. The BTB was intact with no leakage of biotin and lanthanum tracers into the tubular lumen. Adult CXADR cKO mice were fertile with normal sperm parameters and litter size. Breeding experiments and genotyping of the pups demonstrated that CXADR-negative sperm could fertilize WT eggs. In addition, knocking down CXADR from postnatal day 9 (P9) does not affect testicular development and BTB formation. These cKO mice were analyzed at P49 and P90 and display an intact barrier and uncompromised fertility. We conclude that CXADR possesses no direct role in testicular physiology in vivo.

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Ivan Nalvarte, Virpi Töhönen, Maria Lindeberg, Mukesh Varshney, Jan-Åke Gustafsson, and José Inzunza

Estrogen receptor beta (ERβ/ESR2) has a central role in mouse ovaries, as ERβ knockout (BERKO) mice are subfertile due to an increase in fibrosis around the maturing follicle and a decrease in blood supply. This has a consequence that these follicles rarely rupture to release the mature oocyte. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are modulators of the extracellular matrix, and the expression of one specific MMP, MMP-19, is normally increased in granulosa cells during their maturation until ovulation. In this study, we demonstrate that MMP-19 levels are downregulated in BERKO mouse ovaries. Using human MCF-7 cells that overexpress ERβ, we could identify MMP-19 to be a transcriptional target of ligand-bound activated ERβ acting on a specificity protein-1 binding site. These data provide a molecular explanation for the observed follicle rupture defect that contributes to the subfertility of female BERKO mice.