Dysfunction of cellular processes in the testes can lead to infertility, tumourigenesis or other testicular disorders. 14-3-3 proteins are known to play pivotal roles in cellular communication, signal transduction, intracellular trafficking, cell-cycle control, transcription and cytoskeletal structure and have been implicated in several diseases including tumourigenesis. Here we investigated the expression of the 14-3-3 beta isoform in healthy testicular tissues of humans, rats and mice as well as in tissues of Sertoli-cell-only (SCO) syndrome, intratubular germ cell neoplasia (IGCN) and classical seminoma. Samples of healthy and diseased testes from humans, rats and mice were analysed by immunohistochemistry. For PCR, human testis cell lysates were used. Immunoblot analyses of rats and humans healthy testes were performed. Duolink proximity ligation assay (PLA) and co-immunoprecipitation (Co-IP) were carried out to investigate interactions between 14-3-3 beta and vimentin in human, rat and mouse testes. In healthy testes and SCO syndrome, strong 14-3-3 beta-positive cells could be identified as Sertoli cells. Furthermore, 14-3-3 beta proteins were detected in cells of the peritubular stroma. In samples of IGCN and classical seminoma, the malignant transformed cells stained positive for 14-3-3 beta antigen. Immunoblot analyses revealed the presence of 14-3-3 beta in healthy testicular tissues. 14-3-3 beta mRNA transcripts were detected in cell lysates of healthy human testes. Interaction of 14-3-3 beta with the intermediate filament vimentin was revealed by Duolink PLA and Co-IP. Co-IP experiments identified tubulin as another 14-3-3 beta binding partner. Our data suggest that 14-3-3 beta expression is essential for normal spermatogenesis by interacting with vimentin in Sertoli cells. Additionally, 14-3-3 beta expression in malignant transformed cells in IGCN and classical seminoma may lead to tumourigenesis and cell survival.
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