Previously, we found that the poly(A) RNA of the scaffolding subunit A (α isoform) of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A-Aα) was clearly expressed by fetal gonocytes but weakly expressed by adult single (As), paired (Apr), and aligned (Aal) A spermatogonia. The scaffolding subunit A of PP2A (PP2A-A) is the major subunit in the formation of a functional PP2A holoenzyme. In this study, we investigated the expression of PP2A-A during testicular development in more detail using in situ hybridization, immunohistochemistry, and Western blot with testes of rats of various ages from 16 days postcoitum (pc) to adulthood. The expression of PP2A-A was detected in fetal proliferative gonocytes at 16 days pc, declining thereafter during the quiescent period of the gonocytes. From the day of birth to the start of spermatogenesis (Day 4 postpartum [pp]), the number of PP2A-A-immunopositive gonocytes increased. At Day 4 pp, the first A1 spermatogonia appeared along the basement membrane; all were PP2A-A positive. In the adult, PP2A-A was upregulated during the differentiation of the As, Apr, and Aal spermatogonia to the A1 spermatogonia and expressed thereafter by all other spermatogonia. Spermatocytes from the pachytene stage onward and all spermatids in the adult testis also showed clear expression of PP2A-A. In Sertoli cells, PP2A-A was detected during their proliferative period at 19 days pc to 15 days pp. The presence of a functional enzyme was confirmed by the additional detection of the catalytic subunit C of PP2A using Western blot analyses at various ages during testicular development. This apparent pattern of expression of PP2A-A during testicular development suggests that PP2A may play an important role in the proliferation of distinct populations of testicular cells and during meiosis and sperm maturation.
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