Germ cell survival through carbohydrate-mediated interaction with Sertoli cells.

Science 295(5552):124 (2002) PMID 11778047

Spermatogenesis is a precisely regulated process in which the germ cells closely interact with Sertoli cells. The molecular basis of this cell-cell adhesion is unknown. Here, we demonstrate that targeted disruption of Man2a2, a gene encoding alpha-mannosidase IIx (MX), an enzyme that forms intermediate asparagine-linked carbohydrates (N-glycans), results in Man2a2 null males that are largely infertile. The Man2a2 null spermatogenic cells fail to adhere to Sertoli cells and are prematurely released from the testis to epididymis. We identified an N-glycan structure that plays a key role in germ cell-Sertoli cell adhesion and showed that a specific carbohydrate was required for spermatogenesis.