Zinc-regulating proteins, ZnT-1, and metallothionein I/II are present in different cell populations in the mouse testis

Vered Elgazar, Vladimir Razanov, Meredin Stoltenberg, Michal Hershfinkel, Mahmoud Huleihel, Yuval Bibi Nitzan, Eitan Lunenfeld, Israel Sekler, William F. Silverman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Zinc ions play an important role in testis development and spermatogenesis. Thus, nutritional zinc deficiency leads to aberrant testicular development, reduced spermatogenesis, and male sterility. The precise actions of zinc in mediating these functions and the mechanisms by which zinc is itself regulated in the testis, however, have not been adequately elucidated. We have assessed the distribution of the zinc-regulating proteins ZnT-1 and metallothionein I/II (MT I/II) in the mouse seminiferous tubule. Colabeling for ZnT-1 and MT I/II demonstrated unique patterns of distribution for these proteins, with ZnT-1 present in Sertoli cells in addition to luminal spermatozoa and MT I/II restricted to spermatocytes. These findings were confirmed by dual-label immunofluorescence for ZnT-1 and the Sertoli cell marker, vimentin, and by immunoelectron microscopy. The differential expression patterns of ZnT-1 and MTs support the hypothesis that ZnT-1 and MTs play different roles in the regulation of intracellular zinc in this organ. The specific expression of ZnT-1 in the Sertoli cells, moreover, is consistent with their role in maintaining a nurturing, closely regulated environment for spermatogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)905-912
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Germ cells
  • Ion homeostasis
  • Metal biology
  • Seminiferous tubule
  • Sertoli cell
  • Spermatogenesis


Dive into the research topics of 'Zinc-regulating proteins, ZnT-1, and metallothionein I/II are present in different cell populations in the mouse testis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this