, Volume 449, Issue 2, pp 200-206

Identity of M2A (D2-40) antigen and gp36 (Aggrus, T1A-2, podoplanin) in human developing testis, testicular carcinoma in situ and germ-cell tumours

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Testicular germ-cell tumours of young adults are derived from a pre-invasive intratubular lesion, carcinoma in situ (CIS). In a recent genome-wide gene expression screening using cDNA microarrays, we found PDPN over-expressed in CIS compared to normal adult testis. PDPN encodes podoplanin (Aggrus, human gp36, T1A-2), a transmembrane glycoprotein expressed in lymphatic endothelium and various solid tumours. To examine a potential role for PDPN in testicular neoplasms and during testicular development, we investigated its expression pattern during the development of human testis and in a series of testicular CIS, gonadoblastoma and overt germ-cell tumours. We established by RT-PCR and by immunohistochemistry with a gp36 antibody that PDPN mRNA and the protein product were expressed in testes with germ-cell neoplasms but not in the normal adult testis. We also found gp36 expression in early foetal gonocytes and immature Sertoli cells, similar to the expression pattern of M2A antigen, a previously identified marker for CIS and seminoma. This reinforced our previous proposal that M2A (D2-40) antigen was identical to gp36 (podoplanin, Aggrus, T1A-2). Our findings also suggest that podoplanin has a function in developing testis, most likely at the level of cell–cell interactions among pre-meiotic germ cells and immature Sertoli cells.