Association of a TDRD1 variant with spermatogenic failure susceptibility in the Han Chinese.
ABSTRACT: Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) are a broad group of noncoding small RNAs that have important biological functions in germline cells and can maintain genome integrity via silencing of retrotransposons. In this study, we aimed to explore the associations between genetic variants of important genes involved in piRNA biogenesis and male infertility with spermatogenic impairment.To this end, five single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the ASZ1, PIWIL1, TDRD1, and TDRD9 genes were genotyped by TaqMan allelic discrimination assays in 342 cases of nonobstructive azoospermia (NOA) and 493 controls.The SNP rs77559927 in TDRD1 was associated with a reduced risk of spermatogenic impairment. The genotypes TC and TC + CC showed odds ratios and 95 % confidence intervals of 0.73 (0.55-0.98, P = 0.034) and 0.73 (0.56-0.97, P = 0.030), respectively, in patients with NOA compared with those in the controls.Thus, our results provided the first epidemiological evidence supporting the involvement of TDRD1 genetic polymorphisms in piRNA processing genes in determining the risk of spermatogenic impairment in a Han Chinese population.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Tudor domain-containing proteins (TDRDs) play a critical role in piRNA biogenesis and germ cell development. piRNAs, small regulatory RNAs, act by silencing of transposons during germline development and it has recently been shown in animal model studies that defects in TDRD genes can lead to sterility in males. METHODS:Here we evaluate gene and protein expression levels of four key TDRDs (TDRD1, TDRD5, TDRD9 and TDRD12) in testicular biopsy samples obtained from men with obstructive azoospermia (OA, n?=?29), as controls, and various types of non-obstructive azoospermia containing hypospermatogenesis (HP, 28), maturation arrest (MA, n?=?30), and Sertoli cell-only syndrome (SCOS, n?=?32) as cases. One-way ANOVA test followed by Dunnett's multiple comparison post-test was used to determine inter-group differences in TDRD gene expression among cases and controls. RESULTS:The results showed very low expression of TDRD genes in SCOS specimens. Also, the expression of TDRD1 and TDRD9 genes were lower in MA samples compared to OA samples. The expression of TDRD5 significantly reduced in SCOS, MA and HP specimens than the OA specimens. Indeed, TDRD12 exhibited a very low expression in HP specimens in comparison to OA specimens. All these results were confirmed by Western blot technique. CONCLUSION:TDRDs could be very important in male infertility, which should be express in certain stages of spermatogenesis.
Project description:PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) play an important role in gametogenesis, fertility and embryonic development. The current study investigated the effect of different doses of pregnant mare serum gonadotrophin/human chorionic gonadotrophin (PMSG/hCG) and repeated ovarian stimulation (OS) on the expression of the Mili, Miwi, Mael, Tdrd1, Tdrd9, qnd Mitopld genes, which have crucial roles in the biogenesis and function of piRNAs. Here, we found that after treatment with 7.5 I.U. PMSG/hCG and two repeated rounds of OS, both the mRNA and protein levels of Tdrd9, Tdrd1 and Mael showed the greatest decrease in the ovarian tissue, but the plasma E2 levels showed the strongest increases (p<0.05). However, we found that the Mitopld, Miwi and Mili gene levels were decreased significantly after treatment with 12.5 I.U. PMSG/hCG. Our results suggested that exogenous gonadotropin administration leads to a significant decrease in the expression of the Mili, Miwi, Mael, Tdrd1, Tdrd9 and Mitopld genes, which are critically important in the piRNA pathway, and the changes in the expression levels of Tdrd9, Tdrd1 and Mael may be associated with plasma E2 levels. New comprehensive studies are needed to reduce the potential effects of OS on the piRNA pathway, which silences transposable elements and maintains genome integrity, and to contribute to the safety of OS.
Project description:Piwi proteins are essential for germline development, stem cell self-renewal, epigenetic regulation, and transposon silencing [1-7]. They bind to a complex class of small noncoding RNAs called Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) . Mammalian Piwi proteins such as Mili are localized in the cytoplasm of spermatogenic cells, where they are associated with a germline-specific organelle called the nuage or its derivative, the chromatoid body, as well as with polysomes . To investigate the molecular mechanisms mediated by Mili, we searched for Mili-interacting proteins. Here, we report that Mili specifically interacts with Tudor domain-containing protein 1 (Tdrd1), a germline protein that contains multiple Tudor domains [10, 11]. This RNA-independent interaction is mediated through the N-terminal domain of Mili and the N-terminal region of Tdrd1 containing the myeloid Nervy DEAF-1 (MYND) domain and the first two Tudor domains. In addition, Mili positively regulates the expression of the Tdrd1 mRNA. Furthermore, Mili and Tdrd1 mutants share similar spermatogenic defects. However, Tdrd1, unlike Mili, is not required for piRNA biogenesis. Our results suggest that Mili interacts with Tdrd1 in the nuage and chromatoid body. This interaction does not contribute to piRNA biogenesis but represents a regulatory mechanism that is critical for spermatogenesis.
Project description:Embryonic patterning and germ-cell specification in mice are regulative and depend on zygotic gene activities. However, there are mouse homologues of Drosophila maternal effect genes, including vasa and tudor, that function in posterior and germ-cell determination. We report here that a targeted mutation in Tudor domain containing 1/mouse tudor repeat 1 (Tdrd1/Mtr-1), a tudor-related gene in mice, leads to male sterility because of postnatal spermatogenic defects. TDRD1/MTR-1 predominantly localizes to nuage/germinal granules, an evolutionarily conserved structure in the germ line, and its intracellular localization is downstream of mouse vasa homologue/DEAD box polypeptide 4 (Mvh/Ddx4), similar to Drosophila vasa-tudor. Tdrd1/Mtr-1 mutants lack, and Mvh/Ddx4 mutants show, strong reduction of intermitochondrial cement, a form of nuage in both male and female germ cells, whereas chromatoid bodies, another specialized form of nuage in spermatogenic cells, are observed in Tdrd1/Mtr-1 mutants. Hence, intermitochondrial cement is not a direct prerequisite for oocyte development and fertility in mice, indicating differing requirements for nuage and/or its components between male and female germ cells. The result also proposes that chromatoid bodies likely have an origin independent of or additional to intermitochondrial cement. The analogy between Mvh-Tdrd1 in mouse spermatogenic cells and vasa-tudor in Drosophila oocytes suggests that this molecular pathway retains an essential role(s) that functions in divergent species and in different stages/sexes of the germ line.
Project description:Derepression of transposable elements (TEs) in the course of epigenetic reprogramming of the mouse embryonic germline necessitates the existence of a robust defense that is comprised of PIWI/piRNA pathway and de novo DNA methylation machinery. To gain further insight into biogenesis and function of piRNAs, we studied the intracellular localization of piRNA pathway components and used the combination of genetic, molecular, and cell biological approaches to examine the performance of the piRNA pathway in germ cells of mice lacking Maelstrom (MAEL), an evolutionarily conserved protein implicated in transposon silencing in fruit flies and mice. Here we show that principal components of the fetal piRNA pathway, MILI and MIWI2 proteins, localize to two distinct types of germinal cytoplasmic granules and exhibit differential association with components of the mRNA degradation/translational repression machinery. The first type of granules, pi-bodies, contains the MILI-TDRD1 module of the piRNA pathway and is likely equivalent to the enigmatic "cementing material" first described in electron micrographs of rat gonocytes over 35 years ago. The second type of granules, piP-bodies, harbors the MIWI2-TDRD9-MAEL module of the piRNA pathway and signature components of P-bodies, GW182, DCP1a, DDX6/p54, and XRN1 proteins. piP-bodies are found predominantly in the proximity of pi-bodies and the two frequently share mouse VASA homolog (MVH) protein, an RNA helicase. In Mael-mutant gonocytes, MIWI2, TDRD9, and MVH are lost from piP-bodies, whereas no effects on pi-body composition are observed. Further analysis revealed that MAEL appears to specifically facilitate MIWI2-dependent aspects of the piRNA pathway including biogenesis of secondary piRNAs, de novo DNA methylation, and efficient downregulation of TEs. Cumulatively, our data reveal elaborate cytoplasmic compartmentalization of the fetal piRNA pathway that relies on MAEL function.
Project description:Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) are small noncoding RNAs expressed in the germline of animals. They associate with Argonaute proteins of the Piwi subfamily, forming ribonucleoprotein complexes that are involved in maintaining genome integrity. The N-terminal region of some Piwi proteins contains symmetrically dimethylated arginines. This modification is thought to enable recruitment of Tudor domain-containing proteins (TDRDs), which might serve as platforms mediating interactions between various proteins in the piRNA pathway. We measured the binding affinity of the four individual extended Tudor domains (TDs) of murine TDRD1 protein for three different methylarginine-containing peptides from murine Piwi protein MILI. The results show a preference of TD2 and TD3 for consecutive MILI peptides, whereas TD4 and TD1 have, respectively, lower and very weak affinity for any peptide. The affinity of TD1 for methylarginine peptides can be restored by a single-point mutation back to the consensus aromatic cage sequence. These observations were confirmed by pull-down experiments with endogenous Piwi and Piwi-associated proteins. The crystal structure of TD3 bound to a methylated MILI peptide shows an unexpected orientation of the bound peptide, with additional contacts of nonmethylated residues being made outside of the aromatic cage, consistent with solution NMR titration experiments. Finally, the molecular envelope of the four tandem Tudor domains of TDRD1, derived from small angle scattering data, reveals a flexible, elongated shape for the protein. Overall, the results show that TDRD1 can accommodate different peptides from different proteins, and can therefore act as a scaffold protein for complex assembly in the piRNA pathway.
Project description:Epigenetic changes are involved in a wide range of common human diseases. Although DNA methylation defects are known to be associated with male infertility in mice, their impact on human deficiency of sperm production has yet to be determined. We have assessed the global genomic DNA methylation profiles in human infertile male patients with spermatogenic disorders by using the Infinium Human Methylation27 BeadChip. Three populations were studied: conserved spermatogenesis, spermatogenic failure due to germ cell maturation defects, and Sertoli cell-only syndrome samples. A disease-associated DNA methylation profile, characterized by targeting members of the PIWI-associated RNA (piRNA) processing machinery, was obtained. Bisulfite genomic sequencing and pyrosequencing in a large cohort (n = 46) of samples validated the altered DNA methylation patterns observed in piRNA-processing genes. In particular, male infertility was associated with the promoter hypermethylation-associated silencing of PIWIL2 and TDRD1. The downstream effects mediated by the epigenetic inactivation of the PIWI pathway genes were a defective production of piRNAs and a hypomethylation of the LINE-1 repetitive sequence in the affected patients. Overall, our data suggest that DNA methylation, at least that affecting PIWIL2/TDRD1, has a role in the control of gene expression in spermatogenesis and its imbalance contributes to an unsuccessful germ cell development that might explain a group of male infertility disorders.
Project description:Although most cancer research has focused in mRNA, non-coding RNAs are also an essential player in tumorigenesis. In addition to the well-recognized microRNAs, recent studies have also shown that epigenetic silencing by CpG island hypermethylation of other classes of non-coding RNAs, such as transcribed ultraconserved regions (T-UCRs) or small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs), also occur in human neoplasia. Herein we have studied the putative existence of epigenetic aberrations in the activity of PIWI proteins, an Argonaute family protein subclass, and the small regulatory PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) in testicular cancer, as the PIWI/piRNA pathway plays a critical role in male germline development. We have observed the existence of promoter CpG island hypermethylation-associated silencing of PIWIL1, PIWIL2, PIWIL4, and TDRD1 in primary seminoma and non-seminoma testicular tumors, in addition to testicular germ cell tumor cell lines. Most importantly, these epigenetic lesions occur in a context of piRNA downregulation and loss of DNA methylation of the LINE-1 repetitive sequences, one of the target genomic loci where the PIWI/piRNA machinery acts as a caretaker in non-transformed cells.
Project description:Tudor domain containing (Tdrd) proteins that are expressed in germ cells are divided into two groups. One group, consisting of TDRD1, TDRKH, TDRD9 and TDRD12, function in piRNA biogenesis and retrotransposon silencing, while the other group including RNF17/TDRD4 and TDRD5-7 are required for spermiogenesis. These Tdrd proteins play distinct roles during male germ cell development. Here, we report the characterization of STK31/TDRD8 in mice. STK31 contains a tudor domain and a serine/threonine kinase domain. We find that STK31 is a cytoplasmic protein in germ cells. STK31 is expressed in embryonic gonocytes of both sexes and postnatal spermatocytes and round spermatids in males. Disruption of the tudor domain and kinase domain of STK31 respectively does not affect fertility in mice. Our data suggest that the function of STK31 may be redundant with other Tdrd proteins in germ cell development.
Project description:Piwi proteins and their associated Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) are implicated in transposon silencing in the murine germline. There is currently little information on additional proteins in the murine Piwi complex and how they might regulate the entry of transcripts that accumulate as piRNAs in the Piwi ribonucleoprotein (piRNP). We isolated Mili-containing complexes from adult mouse testes and identified Tudor domain-containing protein 1 (Tdrd1) as a factor specifically associated with the Mili piRNP throughout spermatogenesis. Complex formation is promoted by the recognition of symmetrically dimethylated arginines at the N-terminus of Mili by the Tudor domains of Tdrd1. Similar to a Mili mutant, mice lacking Tdrd1 show derepression of L1 transposons accompanied by a loss of DNA methylation of their regulatory elements, and delocalization of Miwi2 from the nucleus to the cytoplasm. Finally, we show that Mili piRNPs devoid of Tdrd1 accept the entry of abundant cellular transcripts into the piRNA pathway and accumulate piRNAs with a profile that is drastically different from the wild-type. Our data suggests that Mili recruits Tdrd1 to ensure only the entry of transcripts that contribute to its normal piRNA pool. Overall design: Immunoprecipitation of Tdrd1 or Mili from mouse testes isolated from wild-type or tdrd1 ko animals. Associated RNAs were sequenced in this study.