Expression of steroidogenic factor 1 in the testis requires an interactive array of elements within its proximal promoter.
ABSTRACT: Steroidogenic factor 1 (SF-1) is an orphan nuclear receptor that is important for expression of genes involved in sexual differentiation, testicular and adrenal development, and hormone synthesis and regulation. To better understand the mechanisms required for SF-1 production, we employed transient transfection analysis and electrophoretic mobility shift assays to characterize the elements and proteins required for transcriptional activity of the SF-1 proximal promoter in testicular Sertoli and Leydig cells and adrenocortical cells. Direct comparison of SF-1-promoter activity in testis and adrenal cell types established that a similar set of regulatory elements (an E box, CCAAT box, and Sp1-binding sites) is required for proximal promoter activity in these cells. Further evaluation of the E box and CCAAT box revealed a novel synergism between the two elements and identified functionally important bases within the elements. Importantly, DNA/protein-binding studies uncovered new proteins interacting with the E box and CCAAT box. Thus, in addition to the previously identified USF and NF-Y proteins, newly described complexes, having migration properties that differed between Sertoli and Leydig cells, were observed bound to the E box and CCAAT box. Transient transfection analysis also identified several Sp1/Sp3-binding elements important for expression of SF-1 in the testis, one of which was previously described for expression in the adrenal gland whereas the other two were newly disclosed elements.
Project description:We have previously shown that the maximal promoter activity of the gene for extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase 2 (ERK2; also known as p42 mitogen-activated protein kinase) resides in the 371 bp 5'-flanking sequence. In the present study we defined roles for a CCAAT box and two adjacent GC boxes in the activity of this promoter. Deletion analysis and DNase I footprinting of this 371 bp region indicated that the CCAAT box at -64 and GC boxes at -86 and -39 are crucial for promoter activity. Electrophoretic mobility-shift assays showed that transcription factor NF-Y/CBF binds to the CCAAT box. Sp1 and Sp3, members of the Sp family of transcription factors, bind to the GC boxes of the ERK2 promoter. The binding of Sp3 was predominant over that of Sp1. Disruption by mutation of any of the CCAAT box and GC boxes similarly decreased promoter activity. These three cis elements exhibited a moderate synergy in promoter function. The transactivating role of NF-Y was corroborated by the finding that a dominant-negative form of NF-YA diminished the promoter activity. These results provide clues for refining our understanding of not only the regulation of expression of the gene for ERK2 but also mechanisms by which NF-Y and Sp1/Sp3 regulate transcription.
Project description:Histone deacetylase 1 (HDAC1) is a major regulator of chromatin structure and gene expression. Tight control of HDAC1 expression is essential for development and normal cell cycle progression. In this report, we analyzed the regulation of the mouse HDAC1 gene by deacetylases and acetyltransferases. The murine HDAC1 promoter lacks a TATA box consensus sequence but contains several putative SP1 binding sites and a CCAAT box, which is recognized by the transcription factor NF-Y. HDAC1 promoter-reporter studies revealed that the distal SP1 site and the CCAAT box are crucial for HDAC1 promoter activity and act synergistically to constitute HDAC1 promoter activity. Furthermore, these sites are essential for activation of the HDAC1 promoter by the deacetylase inhibitor trichostatin A (TSA). Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays showed that HDAC1 is recruited to the promoter by SP1 and NF-Y, thereby regulating its own expression. Coexpression of acetyltransferases elevates HDAC1 promoter activity when the SP1 site and the CCAAT box are intact. Increased histone acetylation at the HDAC1 promoter region in response to TSA treatment is dependent on binding sites for SP1 and NF-Y. Taken together, our results demonstrate for the first time the autoregulation of a histone-modifying enzyme in mammalian cells.
Project description:The gene for fatty acid synthase (FAS), which contains both GC-rich sequences and a TATA box in its promoter region, is expressed in a tissue-specific manner in response to developmental, nutritional and hormonal signals. Here we report the identification of sequence elements in the 5'-flanking region responsible for modulation of basal promoter activity. Transient transfection of H4IIE hepatoma cells and 3T3-30A5 preadipocytes with plasmids containing the chloroamphenicol acetyltransferase gene driven by FAS promoter sequences of different lengths revealed that two regions between nucleotides -249 and -30 contain elements capable of enhancing transcription. One of these positive regulatory elements was localized to nucleotides -241/-236 using DNase I footprinting, electrophoretic mobility-shift assays and mutagenesis. The sequence element is a typical GC box and the nuclear protein binding to this region appears immunochemically indistinguishable from Sp1. The second positive regulatory element, an inverted CCAAT box, was localized to nucleotides -98/-92 by electrophoretic mobility-shift assays and mutagenesis. A putative negative regulatory element, initially identified by reporter gene transfection experiments, was localized between nucleotides -319 and -301 by DNase I footprinting, electrophoretic mobility-shift assays and deletion mutagenesis; this region consists of 78% G residues. In conclusion, initiation of FAS transcription from a single start site is enhanced by the presence of an adjacent TATA motif, an inverted CCAAT box and an upstream binding site for the transcription factor Sp1; further modulation of transcription is achieved through complex interactions between these promoter elements and an upstream negative regulatory element.
Project description:Sertoli-Leydig cell tumors are characterized by the presence of somatic DICER1 hotspot mutations. In this study, we sought to define the association between DICER1 hotspot mutations and different morphologic subtypes of ovarian Sertoli-Leydig cell tumors. Furthermore, we aimed to assess whether DICER1 hotspot mutations occur in other ovarian sex cord-stromal tumors, testicular sex cord-stromal tumors, or other female genital tract tumors with rhabdomyosarcomatous differentiation. We subjected a series of ovarian Sertoli-Leydig cell tumors (n=32), Sertoli cell tumors (n=5) and gynandroblastomas (n=5), testicular sex cord-stromal tumors (n=15) and a diverse group of female genital tract tumors with rhabdomyosarcomatous morphology (n=10) to DICER1 hotspot mutation analysis using Sanger sequencing. We also tested two gynandroblastomas for the presence of FOXL2 hotspot mutations (p.C134W; c.402C>G). Twenty of 32 (63%) Sertoli-Leydig cell tumors harbored a DICER1 hotspot mutation, of which 80% had the p.E1705K mutation. No association was found between DICER1 mutation status and the presence of heterologous or retiform differentiation in Sertoli-Leydig cell tumors. DICER1 mutations were found at similar frequencies in gynandroblastoma (2/5; 40%) and ovarian Sertoli cell tumors (5/8; 63%; P>0.1), and all mutated tumors harbored a p.E1705K mutation. DICER1 hotspot mutations were also identified in a single cervical rhabdomyosarcoma and in the rhabdomyosarcomatous component of a uterine carcinosarcoma. No DICER1 mutations were detected in testicular sex cord-stromal tumors. Two DICER1 wild-type gynandroblastomas harbored a p.C134W FOXL2 hotspot mutation in both tumor components. In this study we confirmed that DICER1 hotspot mutations occur in over half of ovarian Sertoli-Leydig cell tumors, and are unrelated to tumor differentiation. We also widened the spectrum of ovarian sex cord-stromal tumors with sertoliform differentiation, in which DICER1 mutations are known to occur, to include Sertoli cell tumors and gynandroblastomas. Our results suggest that DICER1 mutations may not have a role in testicular sex cord-stromal tumorigenesis.
Project description:As the central component of canonical TGFbeta superfamily signaling, SMAD4 is a critical regulator of organ development, patterning, tumorigenesis, and many other biological processes. Because numerous TGFbeta superfamily ligands are expressed in developing testes, there may exist specific requirements for SMAD4 in individual testicular cell types. Previously, we reported that expansion of the fetal testis cords requires expression of SMAD4 by the Sertoli cell lineage. To further uncover the role of Smad4 in murine testes, we produced conditional knockout mice lacking Smad4 in either Leydig cells or in both Sertoli and Leydig cells simultaneously. Loss of Smad4 concomitantly in Sertoli and Leydig cells led to underdevelopment of the testis cords during fetal life and mild testicular dysgenesis in young adulthood (decreased testis size, partially dysgenic seminiferous tubules, and low sperm production). When the Sertoli/Leydig cell Smad4 conditional knockout mice aged (56- to 62-wk old), the testis phenotypes became exacerbated with the appearance of hemorrhagic tumors, Leydig cell adenomas, and a complete loss of spermatogenesis. In contrast, loss of Smad4 in Leydig cells alone did not appreciably alter fetal and adult testis development. Our findings support a cell type-specific requirement of Smad4 in testis development and suppression of testicular tumors.
Project description:Dmrt1 is a recently described gene that is specifically expressed in the gonads and is required for postnatal testis differentiation. Here, we describe the transcriptional mechanisms regulating the Dmrt1 proximal promoter in testicular Sertoli cells. A genomic clone containing exon 1 of the rat Dmrt1 gene and more than 9 kilobases of 5' flanking sequence was isolated and characterized. Several prominent transcriptional start sites were identified, with the major site located 102 bases from the translational start. The Dmrt1 5' flanking region from -5000 to +74 was transcriptionally active in primary Sertoli cells, and deletion analysis of this fragment identified 2 major regions needed for full Dmrt1 promoter function. These regions were located between -3200 and -2000 base pairs (bp) and downstream of -150 bp relative to the major transcriptional start site. DNase I footprint analysis of the region downstream of -150 bp revealed 3 regions that are bound by proteins from Sertoli cell nuclear extracts. Site-directed mutagenesis of these regions identified 2 elements that activate the Dmrt1 promoter and 2 that repress it. The positive elements bind the transcription factors Sp1, Sp3, and Egr1, suggesting that these transcription factors play a critical role in Dmrt1 regulation in the testis.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The interstitium of the mouse testis contains Leydig cells and a small number of steroidogenic cells with adrenal characteristics which may be derived from the fetal adrenal during development or may be a normal subset of the developing fetal Leydig cells. Currently it is not known what regulates development and/or proliferation of this sub-population of steroidogenic cells in the mouse testis. Androgen receptors (AR) are essential for normal testicular function and in this study we have examined the role of the AR in regulating interstitial cell development. RESULTS:Using a mouse model which lacks gonadotropins and AR (hpg.ARKO), stimulation of luteinising hormone receptors in vivo with human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) caused a marked increase in adrenal cell transcripts/protein in a group of testicular interstitial cells. hCG also induced testicular transcripts associated with basic steroidogenic function in these mice but had no effect on adult Leydig cell-specific transcript levels. In hpg mice with functional AR, treatment with hCG induced Leydig cell-specific function and had no effect on adrenal transcript levels. Examination of mice with cell-specific AR deletion and knockdown of AR in a mouse Leydig cell line suggests that AR in the Leydig cells are likely to regulate these effects. CONCLUSIONS:This study shows that in the mouse the androgen receptor is required both to prevent development of testicular cells with adrenal characteristics and to ensure development of an adult Leydig cell phenotype.
Project description:Formation of tubular structures relies upon complex interactions between adjacent epithelium and mesenchyme. In the embryonic testes, dramatic compartmentalization leads to the formation of testis cords (epithelium) and the surrounding interstitium (mesenchyme). Sertoli cells, the epithelial cell type within testis cords, produce signaling molecules to orchestrate testis cord formation. The interstitial fetal Leydig cells, however, are thought only to masculinize the embryo and are not known to be involved in testis cord morphogenesis. Contrary to this notion, we have identified activin A, a member of the TGF-beta protein superfamily, as a product of the murine fetal Leydig cells that acts directly upon Sertoli cells to promote their proliferation during late embryogenesis. Genetic disruption of activin betaA, the gene encoding activin A, specifically in fetal Leydig cells resulted in a failure of fetal testis cord elongation and expansion due to decreased Sertoli cell proliferation. Conditional inactivation of Smad4, the central component of TGF-beta signaling, in Sertoli cells led to testis cord dysgenesis and proliferative defects similar to those of Leydig cell-specific activin betaA knockout testes. These results indicate that activin A is the major TGF-beta protein that acts directly on Sertoli cells. Testicular dysgenesis in activin betaA and Smad4 conditional knockout embryos persists into adulthood, leading to low sperm production and abnormal testicular histology. Our findings challenge the paradigm that fetal testis development is solely under the control of Sertoli cells, by uncovering an active and essential role of fetal Leydig cells during testis cord morphogenesis.
Project description:Although mastermind-like domain containing 1 (MAMLD1) (CXORF6) on human chromosome Xq28 has been shown to be a causative gene for 46,XY disorders of sex development with hypospadias, the biological function of MAMLD1/Mamld1 remains to be elucidated. In this study, we first showed gradual and steady increase of testicular Mamld1 mRNA expression levels in wild-type male mice from 12.5 to 18.5 d postcoitum. We then generated Mamld1 knockout (KO) male mice and revealed mildly but significantly reduced testicular mRNA levels (65-80%) of genes exclusively expressed in Leydig cells (Star, Cyp11a1, Cyp17a1, Hsd3b1, and Insl3) as well as grossly normal testicular mRNA levels of genes expressed in other cell types or in Leydig and other cell types. However, no demonstrable abnormality was identified for cytochrome P450 17A1 and 3?-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (HSD3B) protein expression levels, appearance of external and internal genitalia, anogenital distance, testis weight, Leydig cell number, intratesticular testosterone and other steroid metabolite concentrations, histological findings, in situ hybridization findings for sonic hedgehog (the key molecule for genital tubercle development), and immunohistochemical findings for anti-Müllerian hormone (Sertoli cell marker), HSD3B (Leydig cell marker), and DEAD (Asp-Glu-Ala-Asp) box polypeptide 4 (germ cell marker) in the KO male mice. Fertility was also normal. These findings imply that Mamld1 deficiency significantly reduces mRNA expression levels of multiple genes expressed in mouse fetal Leydig cells but permits normal genital and reproductive development. The contrastive phenotypic findings between Mamld1 KO male mice and MAMLD1 mutation positive patients would primarily be ascribed to species difference in the fetal sex development.
Project description:Topo IIalpha (topoisomerase IIalpha) is a major target of several commonly used anticancer drugs and is subject to down-regulation at the transcriptional level in some drug-resistant cell lines and tumours in response to chemotherapy. Clinical resistance to such drugs has been correlated with down-regulation of topo IIalpha at transcription in some drug-resistant cell lines and tumours. Putative binding sites for a variety of transcription factors, including Sp1 (specificity protein 1) and NF-Y (nuclear factor Y) have previously been identified in the topo IIalpha promoter, but their functional significance and interactions have not been described following exposure to anti-cancer drugs. The binding of these factors to specific putative regulatory elements in the topo IIalpha promoter was studied using electrophoretic-mobility-shift assays. Sp1 was found to bind strongly to both distal and proximal GC-rich elements and NF-Y to ICB1 (the first inverted CCAAT box). The functional significance of transcription-factor binding was studied using transient transfection of HeLa cells using a luciferase reporter driven by a 617-bp minimal promoter containing point mutations in putative regulatory elements. Sp1 and NF-Y were both found to be transcriptional modulators with activator or repressor functions depending on protein/DNA context. Moreover, a functional interaction between Sp1 and NF-Y bound at proximal elements was observed.