The mechanism that regulates sperm release at spermiation is unknown. Herein, we used an animal model wherein rats were treated with adjudin, 1-(2,4-dichlorobenzyl)-1H-indazole-3-carbohydrazide, via oral gavage to induce premature release of elongating/elongated spermatids, followed by round spermatids and spermatocytes. Spermatid release mimicking spermiation occurred within 6 to 12 hours following adjudin treatment and, by 96 hours, virtually all tubules were devoid of elongating/elongated spermatids. Using this model, we tracked the organization of F-actin and microtubules (MTs) by immunofluorescence microscopy, and the association of actin or MT regulatory proteins that either promote or demolish cytoskeletal integrity through changes in the organization of actin microfilaments or MTs by coimmunoprecipitation. Adjudin treatment induced an increase in the association of (1) epidermal growth factor receptor pathway substrate 8 (an actin barbed-end capping and bundling protein) or formin 1 (an actin nucleator) with actin and (2) end-binding protein 1 (an MT stabilizing protein) with MT shortly after adjudin exposure (at 6 hours), in an attempt to maintain spermatid adhesion to the Sertoli cell at the apical ectoplasmic specialization (ES). However, this was followed by a considerable decline of their steady-state protein levels, replacing with an increase in association of (1) actin-related protein 3 (a branched actin nucleator that converts actin filaments into a branched/ unbundled network) with actin and (2) MT affinity-regulating kinase 4 (an MT destabilizing protein kinase) with MTs by 12 hours after adjudin treatment. These latter changes thus promoted actin and MT disorganization, leading to apical ES disruption and the release of elongating/ elongated spermatids, mimicking spermiation. In summary, spermiation is a cytoskeletal-dependent event, involving regulatory proteins that modify cytoskeletal organization.
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