Osawa Y, Murata K, Usui M, Kuba Y, Le HT, Mikami N, Nakagawa T, Daitoku Y, Kato K, Shawki HH, Ikeda Y, Kuno A, Morimoto K, Tanimoto Y, Dinh TTH, Yagami KI, Ema M, Yoshida S, Takahashi S, Mizuno S, Sugiyama F.
The male germ cells must adopt the correct morphology at each differentiation stage for proper spermatogenesis. The spermatogonia regulates its differentiation state by its own migration. The male germ cells differentiate and mature with the formation of syncytia, failure of forming the appropriate syncytia results in the arrest at the spermatocyte stage. However, the detailed molecular mechanisms of male germ cell morphological regulation are unknown. Here, we found that EXOC1, a member of the Exocyst complex, is important for the pseudopod formation of spermatogonia and spermatocyte syncytia in mice. EXOC1 contributes to the pseudopod formation of spermatogonia by inactivating the Rho family small GTPase Rac1 and also functions in the spermatocyte syncytia with the SNARE proteins STX2 and SNAP23. Since EXOC1 is known to bind to several cell morphogenesis factors, this study is expected to be the starting point for the discovery of many morphological regulators of male germ cells.