Journal Article

The myotubularin family of lipid phosphatases in disease and in spermatogenesis

The MTM (myotubularin)/MTMR (myotubularin-related) protein family is comprised of 15 lipid phosphatases, of which nine members are catalytically active. MTMs are known to play a fundamental role in human physiology as gene mutations can give rise to X-linked myotubular myopathy or Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, which manifest in skeletal muscle or in peripheral neurons respectively. Interestingly, studies have shown MTMR2 and MTMR5, two MTM family members, to be highly expressed in the testis, particularly in Sertoli and germ cells, and knockout of either gene resulted in spermatogenic defects. Other studies have shown that MTMR2 functions in endocytosis and membrane trafficking. In the testis, MTMR2 interacts and co-localizes with c-Src/phospho-Src-(Tyr4¹6), a non-receptor protein tyrosine kinase that regulates the phosphorylation state of proteins at the apical ES (ectoplasmic specialization), a unique type of cell junction found between Sertoli cells and elongating/elongated spermatids. In the present review, we highlight recent findings that have made a significant impact on our understanding of this protein family in normal cell function and in disease, with the emphasis on the role of MTMs and MTMRs in spermatogenesis. We also describe a working model to explain how MTMR2 interacts with other proteins such as c-Src, dynamin 2, EPS8 (growth factor receptor pathway substrate 8) and ARP2/3 (actin-related protein 2/3) at the apical ES and the apical TBC (tubulobulbar complex; tubular-like invaginations that function in the disassembly of the apical ES and in the recycling of its components) to regulate spermiation at late stage VIII of the seminiferous epithelial cycle.