The testis is the main source of Fas ligand (FasL) mRNA in rodents; it is generally believed that this molecule, expressed on bordering somatic Sertoli cells, bestows an immune-privileged status in the testis by eliminating infiltrating inflammatory Fas-bearing leukocytes. Our results demonstrate that the attribution of testicular expression of FasL to Sertoli cells is erroneous and that FasL transcription instead occurs in meiotic and postmeiotic germ cells, whereas the protein is only displayed on mature spermatozoa. These findings point to a significant role of the Fas system in the biology of mammalian reproduction.
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