Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 70, Issue 7, pp 1207–1220

Connexin 43 a check-point component of cell proliferation implicated in a wide range of human testis diseases

  • Daniel Chevallier
  • Diane Carette
  • Dominique Segretain
  • Jérome Gilleron
  • Georges Pointis
Review

Abstract

Gap junction channels link cytoplasms of adjacent cells. Connexins, their constitutive proteins, are essential in cell homeostasis and are implicated in numerous physiological processes. Spermatogenesis is a sophisticated model of germ cell proliferation, differentiation, survival, and apoptosis, in which a connexin isotype, connexin 43, plays a crucial role as evidenced by genomic approaches based on gene deletion. The balance between cell proliferation/differentiation/apoptosis is a prerequisite for maintaining levels of spermatozoa essential for fertility and for limiting anarchic cell proliferation, a major risk of testis tumor. The present review highlights the emerging role of connexins in testis pathogenesis, focusing specifically on two intimately interconnected human testicular diseases (azoospermia with impaired spermatogenesis and testicular germ cell tumors), whose incidence increased during the last decades. This work proposes connexin 43 as a potential cancer diagnostic and prognostic marker, as well as a promising therapeutic target for testicular diseases.

Keywords

Azoospermia Connexin 43 Gap junction Pathogenesis Testicular germ cell tumors 

Abbreviations

AFP

Alpha-fetoprotein

AMH

Anti-Müllerian hormone

BTB

Blood–testis barrier

cAMP

Cyclic adenosine monophosphate

cGMP

Cyclic guanosine monophosphate

CIS

Carcinoma in situ

Cx

Connexin

G-CSF

Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor

GJA1

Gap junction protein alpha 1

GJIC

Gap junction intercellular communication

hCG

Human chorionic gonadotropin

KO

Knock-out

LDH

Lactate dehydrogenase

miRNA

MicroRNA

ODDD

Oculodentodigital

PGC

Primordial germ cell

PLAP

Placental alkaline phosphatase

SCO

Sertoli-cell-only

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Copyright information

© Springer Basel AG 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Chevallier
    • 1
    • 2
  • Diane Carette
    • 3
    • 4
  • Dominique Segretain
    • 3
    • 4
  • Jérome Gilleron
    • 2
    • 5
  • Georges Pointis
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of UrologyPasteur HospitalNiceFrance
  2. 2.INSERM U 1065, Team 5 “Physiopathologic Control of Germ Cell Proliferation: Genomic and Non Genomic Mechanisms”University Nice Sophia-AntipolisNice Cedex 3France
  3. 3.UMR S775University Paris DescartesParisFrance
  4. 4.University of VersaillesSaint QuentinFrance
  5. 5.Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and GeneticsDresdenGermany

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