Induction of androgen formation in the male by a TAT-VDAC1 fusion peptide blocking 14-3-3? protein adaptor and mitochondrial VDAC1 interactions.
ABSTRACT: Low testosterone (T), a major cause of male hypogonadism and infertility, is linked to mood changes, fatigue, osteoporosis, reduced bone-mass index, and aging. The treatment of choice, T replacement therapy, has been linked with increased risk for prostate cancer and luteinizing hormone (LH) suppression, and shown to lead to infertility, cardiovascular diseases, and obesity. Alternate methods to induce T with lower side effects are desirable. In search of the mechanisms regulating T synthesis in the testes, we identified the 14-3-3? protein adaptor as a negative regulator of steroidogenesis. Steroidogenesis begins in mitochondria. 14-3-3? interacts with the outer mitochondrial membrane voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC1) protein, forming a scaffold that limits the availability of cholesterol for steroidogenesis. We report the development of a tool able to induce endogenous T formation. Peptides able to penetrate testes conjugated to 14-3-3? site of interaction with VDAC1 blocked 14-3-3?-VDAC1 interactions while at the same time increased VDAC1-translocator protein (18?kDa) interactions that induced steroid formation in rat testes, leading to increased serum T levels. These peptides rescued intratesticular and serum T formation in adult male rats treated with gonadotropin-releasing hormone antagonist, which dampened LH and T production.
Project description:Luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) act on gonadal cells to promote steroidogenesis and gametogenesis. Clarifying the in vivo roles of LH and FSH permits a feasible approach to contraception involving selective blockade of gonadotropin action. One way to address these physiologically important problems is to generate mice with an isolated LH deficiency and compare them with existing FSH loss-of-function mice. To model human reproductive disorders involving loss of LH function and to define LH-responsive genes, we produced knockout mice lacking the hormone-specific LHbeta-subunit. LHbeta-null mice are viable but demonstrate postnatal defects in gonadal growth and function resulting in infertility. Mutant males have decreased testes size, prominent Leydig cell hypoplasia, defects in expression of genes encoding steroid biosynthesis pathway enzymes, and reduced testosterone levels. Furthermore, spermatogenesis is blocked at the round spermatid stage, causing a total absence of the elongated spermatids. Mutant female mice are hypogonadal and demonstrate decreased levels of serum estradiol and progesterone. Ovarian histology demonstrates normal thecal layer, defects in folliculogenesis including many degenerating antral follicles, and absence of corpora lutea. The defects in both sexes are not secondary to aberrant FSH regulation, because FSH levels were unaffected in null mice. Finally, both male and female null mice can be pharmacologically rescued by exogenous human chorionic gonadotropin, indicating that LH-responsiveness of the target cells is not irreversibly lost. Thus, LHbeta null mice represent a model to study the consequences of an isolated deficiency of LH ligand in reproduction, while retaining normal LH-responsiveness in target cells.
Project description:Wilms' tumor 1 (Wt1) is a tumor suppressor gene encoding ?24 zinc finger transcription factors. In the mammalian testis, Wt1 is expressed mostly by Sertoli cells (SCs) involved in testis development, spermatogenesis, and adult Leydig cell (ALC) steroidogenesis. Global knockout (KO) of Wt1 is lethal in mice due to defects in embryogenesis. Herein, we showed that Wt1 is involved in regulating fetal Leydig cell (FLC) degeneration and ALC differentiation during testicular development. Using Wt1(-/flox);Amh-Cre mice that specifically deleted Wt1 in the SC vs. age-matched wild-type (WT) controls, FLC-like-clusters were found in Wt1-deficient testes that remained mitotically active from postnatal day 1 (P1) to P56, and no ALC was detected at these ages. Leydig cells in mutant adult testes displayed morphological features of FLC. Also, FLC-like cells in adult mutant testes had reduced expression in ALC-associated genes Ptgds, Sult1e1, Vcam1, Hsd11b1, Hsd3b6, and Hsd17b3 but high expression of FLC-associated genes Thbs2 and Hsd3b1. Whereas serum LH and testosterone level in mutant mice were not different from controls, intratesticular testosterone level was significantly reduced. Deletion of Wt1 gene also perturbed the expression of steroidogenic enzymes Star, P450c17, Hsd3b6, Hsd3b1, Hsd17b1, and Hsd17b3. FLCs in adult mutant testes failed to convert androstenedione to testosterone due to a lack of Hsd17b3, and this defect was rescued by coculturing with fetal SCs. In summary, FLC-like cells in mutant testes are putative FLCs that remain mitotically active in adult mice, illustrating that Wt1 dictates the fate of FLC and ALC during postnatal testis development.
Project description:The steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR) is required for adrenal and gonadal steroidogenesis and for male sexual differentiation. StAR acts on the outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM) to facilitate movement of cholesterol from the OMM to the inner mitochondrial membrane to be converted to pregnenolone, the precursor of all steroid hormones. The mechanisms of the action of StAR remain unclear; the peripheral benzodiazepine receptor, an OMM protein, appears to be involved, but the identity of OMM proteins that interact with StAR remain unknown. Here we demonstrate that phosphorylated StAR interacts with voltage-dependent anion channel 1 (VDAC1) on the OMM, which then facilitates processing of the 37-kDa phospho-StAR to the 32-kDa intermediate. In the absence of VDAC1, phospho-StAR is degraded by cysteine proteases prior to mitochondrial import. Phosphorylation of StAR by protein kinase A requires phosphate carrier protein on the OMM, which appears to interact with StAR before it interacts with VDAC1. VDAC1 and phosphate carrier protein are the first OMM proteins shown to contact StAR.
Project description:The concentration of intratesticular testosterone (IT-T) required for human spermatogenesis is unknown because spermatogenesis can persist despite the markedly reduced IT-T concentrations observed with LH suppression. Methods to lower IT-T further are needed to determine the relationship between IT-T and spermatogenesis.The objective of the study was to determine the effect of inhibiting the synthesis and metabolism of testosterone (T) on IT-T in gonadotropin-suppressed human testes.Forty normal men participated in a blinded, placebo-controlled, randomized trial at an academic center. INTERVENTION/OUTCOME MEASURES: All men were first administered the GnRH antagonist acyline to suppress LH. Forty-eight hours after acyline administration, subjects were randomly assigned to placebo, ketoconazole (to inhibit T synthesis) at 400 or 800 mg, dutasteride (to inhibit T metabolism) 2.5 mg, or anastrazole (to inhibit T metabolism) 1 mg, daily for 7 days (n = 8/group). Intratesticular steroid concentrations were measured 48 hours after acyline administration alone and again after 7 days of combination treatment.After 7 days of combination treatment, the median IT-T (25th, 75th percentile) in the placebo group was 14 (8.0, 21.2) ng/mL. IT-T was reduced to 3.7 (2.5, 7.1) ng/mL in the ketoconazole 400 mg group and 1.7 (0.8, 4.0) ng/mL in the ketoconazole 800 mg group (P < .001 vs placebo for both comparisons). IT-T concentrations in the dutasteride and anastrazole groups were similar to placebo.Combining inhibition of steroidogenesis with gonadotropin suppression lowers IT-T more than gonadotropin suppression alone. This combination might be useful to determine the minimum IT-T concentration necessary for human spermatogenesis, information essential for developing male hormonal contraceptives.
Project description:Testosterone deficiency is associated with sickle cell disease (SCD), but its underlying mechanism is not known. We investigated the possible occurrence and mechanism of testosterone deficiency in a mouse model of human SCD. Transgenic sickle male mice (Sickle) exhibited decreased serum and intratesticular testosterone and increased luteinizing hormone (LH) levels compared with wild type (WT) mice, indicating primary hypogonadism in Sickle mice. LH-, dbcAMP-, and pregnenolone- (but not 22-hydroxycholesterol)- stimulated testosterone production by Leydig cells isolated from the Sickle mouse testis was decreased compared to that of WT mice, implying defective Leydig cell steroidogenesis. There also was reduced protein expression of steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (STAR), but not cholesterol side-chain cleavage enzyme (P450scc), in the Sickle mouse testis. These data suggest that the capacity of P450scc to support testosterone production may be limited by the supply of cholesterol to the mitochondria in Sickle mice. The sickle mouse testis exhibited upregulated NADPH oxidase subunit gp91phox and increased oxidative stress, measured as 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal, and unchanged protein expression of an antioxidant glutathione peroxidase-1. Mice heterozygous for the human sickle globin (Hemi) exhibited intermediate hypogonadal changes between those of WT and Sickle mice. These results demonstrate that testosterone deficiency occurs in Sickle mice, mimicking the human condition. The defects in the Leydig cell steroidogenic pathway in Sickle mice, mainly due to reduced availability of cholesterol for testosterone production, may be related to NADPH oxidase-derived oxidative stress. Our findings suggest that targeting testicular oxidative stress or steroidogenesis mechanisms in SCD offers a potential treatment for improving phenotypic changes associated with testosterone deficiency in this disease.
Project description:Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPAR?) activation decreased serum testosterone (T) in women with hyperthecosis and/or polycystic ovary syndrome and reduced the conversion of androgens to estradiol (E2) in female rats. This implies modulation of female sex steroid hormones by PPAR?. It is not clear if PPAR? modulates sex steroid hormones in diabetic males. Because PPAR? activation by thiazolidinedione increased insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes, understanding the long term impact of PPAR? activation on steroid sex hormones in males is critical. Our objective was to determine the effect of PPAR? activation on serum and intratesticular T, luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and E2 concentrations in male Zucker diabetic fatty (ZDF) rats treated with the PPAR? agonist rosiglitazone (a thiazolidinedione). Treatment for eight weeks increased PPAR? mRNA and protein in the testis and elevated serum adiponectin, an adipokine marker for PPAR? activation. PPAR? activation did not alter serum or intratesticular T concentrations. In contrast, serum T level but not intratesticular T was reduced by diabetes. Neither diabetes nor PPAR? activation altered serum E2 or gonadotropins FSH and LH concentrations. The results suggest that activation of PPAR? by rosiglitazone has no negative impact on sex hormones in male ZDF rats.
Project description:Deletion of PI3K catalytic subunit p110? in adipose tissue (aP2-Cre/p110?flx/flx, ?-/- hereafter) results in increased adiposity, glucose intolerance, and liver steatosis. Because this endocrine organ releases hormones like leptin, which are important in reproductive physiology, we investigated the reproductive phenotype of ?-/- males. Compared to controls, ?-/- males displayed delayed onset of puberty accompanied by a reduction in plasma LH levels and testicular weight. At postnatal day 30, ?-/- mice exhibited normal body weight but elevated fasted plasma leptin levels. Testicular leptin gene expression was increased, whereas expression of the cholesterol transporter StAR and of P450 cholesterol side chain cleavage enzyme was decreased. Adult ?-/- males were infertile and exhibited hyperandrogenemia with normal basal LH, FSH, and estradiol levels. However, neither sperm counts nor sperm motility was different between genotypes. The mRNA levels of leptin and of 17-beta-dehydrogenase 3, and enzyme important for testosterone production, were significantly higher in the testis of adult ?-/- males. The mRNA levels of ER?, an important regulator of intratesticular steroidogenesis, were lower in the testis of adult and peripubertal ?-/- males. We propose that chronic hyperleptinemia contributes to the negative impact that disrupting PI3K signaling in adipocytes has on puberty onset, steroidogenesis, and fertility in males.
Project description:This study reports an unexpected effect of calmidazolium on steroidogenesis. In contrast with previous work, which established that calmidazolium inhibits hormone-stimulated testosterone production in rat Leydig cells, the present study demonstrates that this compound is a potent stimulator of steroidogenesis when added by itself; this stimulation (approx. 10-fold in a 2 h incubation), was obtained over a narrow dose range (e.g.1-10 microM) in mouse and rat Leydig cells and in rat adrenocortical cells. The same concentrations of calmidazolium decreased basal cyclic AMP to undetectable levels in rat Leydig cells. Also, cyclic AMP stimulated with luteinizing hormone (LH), cholera toxin and forskolin was inhibited by calmidazolium (ED50 2 microM). In contrast with the actions of LH and cyclic AMP analogues on steroidogenesis, the effect of calmidazolium was not inhibited by removal of extracellular Ca2+, or by the addition of La3+ (a Ca(2+)-entry blocker), or the addition of cycloheximide (an inhibitor of protein translation). However, like dibutyryl cyclic AMP, calmidazolium-stimulated steroidogenesis was inhibited by aminoglutethimide, an inhibitor of cholesterol side-chain cleavage. Another calmodulin inhibitor, trifluoperazine, did not stimulate steroidogenesis. It is concluded that calmidazolium has a similar effect on steroidogenesis to LH, but by-passes the requirements for cyclic AMP, Ca2+, and protein synthesis. Calmidazolium is therefore a potentially important probe for elucidating the mechansims of control of steroidogenesis.
Project description:Here, we review current evidence pointing to the function of VDAC1 in cell life and death, and highlight these functions in relation to cancer. Found at the outer mitochondrial membrane, VDAC1 assumes a crucial position in the cell, controlling the metabolic cross-talk between mitochondria and the rest of the cell. Moreover, its location at the boundary between the mitochondria and the cytosol enables VDAC1 to interact with proteins that mediate and regulate the integration of mitochondrial functions with other cellular activities. As a metabolite transporter, VDAC1 contributes to the metabolic phenotype of cancer cells. This is reflected by VDAC1 over-expression in many cancer types, and by inhibition of tumor development upon silencing VDAC1 expression. Along with regulating cellular energy production and metabolism, VDAC1 is also a key protein in mitochondria-mediated apoptosis, participating in the release of apoptotic proteins and interacting with anti-apoptotic proteins. The involvement of VDAC1 in the release of apoptotic proteins located in the inter-membranal space is discussed, as is VDAC1 oligomerization as an important step in apoptosis induction. VDAC also serves as an anchor point for mitochondria-interacting proteins, some of which are also highly expressed in many cancers, such as hexokinase (HK), Bcl2, and Bcl-xL. By binding to VDAC, HK provides both metabolic benefit and apoptosis-suppressive capacity that offers the cell a proliferative advantage and increases its resistance to chemotherapy. VDAC1-based peptides that bind specifically to HK, Bcl2, or Bcl-xL abolished the cell's abilities to bypass the apoptotic pathway. Moreover, these peptides promote cell death in a panel of genetically characterized cell lines derived from different human cancers. These and other functions point to VDAC1 as a rational target for the development of a new generation of therapeutics.
Project description:Humans are environmentally exposed not only to single endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) but to mixtures that affect their reproductive health. In reproductive tissues, microRNAs (miRNAs) are emerging as key targets of EDCs. Here, we analysed changes in the testis "miRNome" (and their biogenesis mechanism) in chronically exposed adult mice to a cocktail of five EDCs containing 0.3?mg/kg-body weight (BW)/day of each phthalate (DEHP, DBP, BBP) and 0.05?mg/kg-BW/day of each alkylphenol (NP, OP), from conception to adulthood. The testis "miRNome" was characterised using next-generation sequencing (NGS). Expression levels of genes involved in miRNA biogenesis were measured by RT-qPCR, as well as several physiological and cytological parameters. We found two up-regulated, and eight down-regulated miRNAs and thirty-six differentially expressed isomiRs along with an over-expression of Drosha, Adar and Zcchc11. A significant decrease of intratesticular estradiol but not testosterone was detected. Functional analysis showed altered spermatogenesis, germ cell apoptosis and negative correlation of miR-18a-5p with Nr1h2 involved in the deregulation of the steroidogenesis pathway. Here, we present the first association between miRNA/isomiRs deregulation, their mechanisms of biogenesis and histopathological and hormonal alterations in testes of adult mice exposed to a mixture of low-dose EDCs, which can play a role in male infertility.