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Abstract

We have investigated, using indirect immunofluorescence techniques, the possibility that vinculin is a component of Sertoli cell ectoplasmic specializations. Affinity-purified polyclonal antibodies produced against human platelet vinculin were used to probe fixed frozen sections of rat testis. Specific fluorescence occurs in Sertoli cell regions adjacent to spermatids and to basally situated junctional complexes, sites at which ectoplasmic specializations are known to occur. Staining also occurs in Sertoli cell regions associated with tubulobulbar complexes. The antibody also labels focal contacts in cultured human dermal fibroblasts, apical junctional sites of rat epididymal epithelium, and dense plaques of smooth muscle. Our results are consistent with the prediction that vinculin is likely a component of ectoplasmic specializations and are also consistent with the hypothesis that these structures are a form of actin-associated adhesion complex.