Expression Of StressInducible Protein 1 (Stip1) In TheMouse Testis



Phthalate esters are considered endocrine disruptors that interfere with the endocrine balance and development of the mammalian testis. Mono-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (MEHP), the active metabolite of the ubiquitously used plasticizer di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), acts upon Sertoli cells as initial target. By subtractive cDNA libraries we identified genes deregulated as response to MEHP in primary cultures of mouse Sertoli cells. The expression of mouse stress inducible protein 1 (Stip1) was detected as upregulated as a result of MEHP exposure. Stip1 is a cochaperone protein that is homologous to the human heat shock cognate protein 70 (hsc70)/heat shock protein 90 (hsp90)- organizing protein (Hop). To assess the presence and localization of Stip1 in mouse testis and its potential role in stress defense, we studied the expression pattern of the Stip1 protein by immunohistochemistry and of the mRNA by in situ hybridization. Both the protein and the mRNA of Stip1 were mainly found in the cytoplasm of all types of spermatogonia and spermatocytes up till zygotene, the expression decreased during late pachytene and was very weak in diplotene spermatocytes and round spermatids. Interestingly, this expression pattern resembled the pattern of stress sensitivity of spermatogenic cells in that the most sensitive cell types show the weakest expression of Stip1. This suggests an important role for Stip1 in the ability of germ cells to survive in stress conditions including high temperatures.