ResearchPad - spermatogenesis https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Deletion of inositol polyphosphate 4-phosphatase type-II B affects spermatogenesis in mice]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14722 Inositol polyphosphate-4-phosphatase type II (INPP4B) is a dual-specificity phosphatase that acts as a tumor suppressor in multiple cancers. INPP4B dephosphorylates phospholipids at the 4th position of the inositol ring and inhibits AKT and PKC signaling by hydrolyzing of PI(3,4)P2 and PI(4,5)P2, respectively. INPP4B protein phosphatase targets include phospho-tyrosines on Akt and phospho-serine and phospho-threonine on PTEN. INPP4B is highly expressed in testes, suggesting its role in testes development and physiology. The objective of this study was to determine whether Inpp4b deletion impacts testicular function in mice. In testis, Inpp4b expression was the highest in postmeiotic germ cells in both mice and men. The testes of Inpp4b knockout male mice were significantly smaller compared to the testes of wild-type (WT) males. Inpp4b-/- males produced fewer mature sperm cells compared to WT, and this difference increased with age and high fat diet (HFD). Reduction in early steroidogenic enzymes and luteinizing hormone (LH) receptor gene expression was detected, although androgen receptor (AR) protein level was similar in WT and Inpp4b-/- testes. Germ cell apoptosis was significantly increased in the knockout mice, while expression of meiotic marker γH2A.X was decreased. Our data demonstrate that INPP4B plays a role in maintenance of male germ cell differentiation and protects testis functions against deleterious effects of aging and high fat diet.

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<![CDATA[Identification of the X-linked germ cell specific miRNAs (XmiRs) and their functions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5df340d5eed0c484580ff5

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play a critical role in multiple aspects of biology. Dicer, an RNase III endonuclease, is essential for the biogenesis of miRNAs, and the germ cell-specific Dicer1 knockout mouse shows severe defects in gametogenesis. How miRNAs regulate germ cell development is still not fully understood. In this study, we identified germ cell-specific miRNAs (miR-741-3p, miR-871-3p, miR-880-3p) by analyzing published RNA-seq data of mouse. These miRNA genes are contiguously located on the X chromosome near other miRNA genes. We named them X chromosome-linked miRNAs (XmiRs). To elucidate the functions of XmiRs, we generated knockout mice of these miRNA genes using the CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome editing system. Although no histological abnormalities were observed in testes of F0 mice in which each miRNA gene was disrupted, a deletion covering miR-871 and miR-880 or covering all XmiRs (ΔXmiRs) resulted in arrested spermatogenesis in meiosis in a few seminiferous tubules, indicating their redundant functions in spermatogenesis. Among candidate targets of XmiRs, we found increased expression of a gene encoding a WNT receptor, FZD4, in ΔXmiRs testis compared with that in wildtype testis. miR-871-3p and miR-880-3p repressed the expression of Fzd4 via the 3′-untranslated region of its mRNA. In addition, downstream genes of the WNT/β-catenin pathway were upregulated in ΔXmiRs testis. We also found that miR-871, miR-880, and Fzd4 were expressed in spermatogonia, spermatocytes and spermatids, and overexpression of miR-871 and miR-880 in germ stem cells in culture repressed their increase in number and Fzd4 expression. Previous studies indicated that the WNT/β-catenin pathway enhances and represses proliferation and differentiation of spermatogonia, respectively, and our results consistently showed that stable β-catenin enhanced GSC number. In addition, stable β-catenin partially rescued reduced GSC number by overexpression of miR-871 and miR-880. The results together suggest that miR-871 and miR-880 cooperatively regulate the WNT/β-catenin pathway during testicular germ cell development.

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<![CDATA[Genetic and genomic analyses of testicular hypoplasia in Nellore cattle]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c536b9dd5eed0c484a48dc9

Reproductive performance is a key indicator of the long-term sustainability of any livestock production system. Testicular hypoplasia (TH) is a morphological and functional reproductive disorder that affects bulls around the world and consequently causes major economic losses due to reduced fertility rates. Despite the improvements in management practices to enhance performance of affected animals, the use of hypoplastic animals for reproduction might contribute to expand the prevalence of this disorder. The aim of this study was to identify genomic regions that are associated with TH in Nellore cattle by performing a genome-wide association study (GWAS) and functional analyses. Phenotypic and pedigree data from 47,563 animals and genotypes (500,689 Single Nucleotide Polymorphism, SNPs) from 265 sires were used in this study. TH was evaluated as a binary trait measured at 18 months of age. The estimated breeding values (EBVs) were calculated by fitting a single-trait threshold animal model using a Bayesian approach. The SNP effects were estimated using the Bayes C method and de-regressed EBVs for TH as the response variable (pseudo-phenotype). The top-15 ranking windows (5-adjacent SNPs) that explained the highest proportion of variance were identified for further functional and biological network analyses. The posterior mean (95% highest posterior density) of the heritability for TH was 0.16 (0.08; 0.23). The most important genomic windows were located on BTA1, BTA3, BTA4, BTA5, BTA9, BTA22, BTA23, and BTA25. These windows explained together 22.69% of the total additive genetic variance for TH. Strong candidate genes associated with metabolism and synthesis of steroids, cell survival, spermatogenesis process and sperm motility were identified, which might play an important role in the expression of TH. Our findings contribute to a better biological understanding of TH and future characterization of causal variants might enable improved genomic prediction of this trait in beef cattle.

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<![CDATA[Neurofibromin haploinsufficiency results in altered spermatogenesis in a mouse model of neurofibromatosis type 1]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c25455ad5eed0c48442c5ac

The fertility of men with neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1) is reduced. Despite this observation, gonadal function has not been examined in patients with NF1. In order to assess the role of reduced neurofibromin in the testes, we examined testicular morphology and function in an Nf1+/- mouse model. We found that although Nf1+/- male mice are able to reproduce, they have significantly fewer pups per litter than Nf1+/+ control males. Reduced fertility in Nf1+/- male mice is associated with disorganization of the seminiferous epithelium, with exfoliation of germ cells and immature spermatids into the tubule lumen. Morphometric analysis shows that these alterations are associated with decreased Leydig cell numbers and increased spermatid cell numbers. We hypothesized that hyper-activation of Ras in Nf1+/- males affects ectoplasmic specialization, a Sertoli-spermatid adherens junction involved in spermiation. Consistent with this idea, we found increased expression of phosphorylated ERK, a downstream effector of Ras that has been shown to alter ectoplasmic specialization, in Nf1+/- males in comparison to control Nf1+/+ littermates. These data demonstrate that neurofibromin haploinsufficiency impairs spermatogenesis and fertility in a mouse model of NF1.

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<![CDATA[New insights of polyamine metabolism in testicular physiology: A role of ornithine decarboxylase antizyme inhibitor 2 (AZIN2) in the modulation of testosterone levels and sperm motility]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c23f275d5eed0c484046c9b

The specific role of polyamines in the testis physiology is not fully understood. Antizymes (OAZs) and antizyme inhibitors (AZINs) are modulators of ornithine decarboxylase (ODC), a key enzyme in polyamine biosynthesis and polyamine uptake. Although the three known OAZs are expressed in the testis, only OAZ3 is testis specific and has been proven to have an essential role in male fertility. Regarding the two existing AZINs, AZIN2 is the most abundantly expressed member in this gonad. Whereas previous studies suggested that AZIN2 might participate in mouse spermatogenesis, immunohistological analysis of human testicular sections revealed that AZIN2 is also detected in the steroidogenic Leydig cells but not in the germinal epithelium. In the present study, we found a close ontogenic similarity in the mRNA levels of OAZs and AZINs between mice and rats, but an opposite expression pattern of ODC activity. Further analysis of AZIN2 and OAZ3 in the testis of mice with different alterations in spermatogenesis and fertility, induced either genetically or pharmacologically, corroborated that both AZIN2 and OAZ3 are mainly expressed in the haploid germinal cells. Finally, by using transgenic mice with a truncated Azin2 gene fused to the bacterial lacZ gene, we studied the expression of Azin2 in testes, epididymides and spermatozoa. AZIN2 was detected in spermatids and spermatozoa, as well as in Leydig cells, and in epithelial epidydimal cells. Azin2 knock-out male mice were fertile; however, they showed marked decreases in testicular putrescine and plasma and testicular testosterone levels, and a dramatic reduction in the sperm motility. These results suggest an important role for AZIN2 in testicular cells by modulating polyamine concentrations, testosterone synthesis and sperm function. Overall, our data corroborate the relevance of polyamine regulation in testis functions, where both AZIN2 and OAZ3 play fundamental roles.

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<![CDATA[Lack of NWC protein (c11orf74 homolog) in murine spermatogenesis results in reduced sperm competitiveness and impaired ability to fertilize egg cells in vitro]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c12cf4fd5eed0c484914366

NWC is an uncharacterised protein containing three strongly conserved domains not found in any other known protein. Previously, we reported that the NWC protein is detected in cells in the germinal layer in murine testes (strain: C57BL/6), and its knockout results in no obvious phenotype. We determined the NWC expression pattern during spermatogenesis, and found this protein in spermatocytes and round spermatids, but not in epididymal sperm. Although NWC knockout males are fertile, we further characterised their reproductive potential employing non-standard mating that better simulates the natural conditions by including sperm competition. Such an approach revealed that the sperm of knockout males fail to successfully compete with control sperm. After analysing selected characteristics of the male reproductive system, we found that NWC knockout sperm had a reduced ability to fertilize cumulus-intact eggs during IVF. This is the first report describing a subtle phenotype of NWC knockout mice that could be detected under non-standard mating conditions. Our results indicate that NWC plays an important role in spermatogenesis and its deficiency results in the production of functionally impaired sperm.

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<![CDATA[Loss of connexin43 in murine Sertoli cells and its effect on blood-testis barrier formation and dynamics]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b5acfc8463d7e11b9cf6300

Connexin43 (Cx43) is the predominant testicular gap junction protein and in cases of impaired spermatogenesis, Cx43 expression has been shown to be altered in several mammals. Amongst other functions, Cx43 is supposed to regulate junction formation of the blood-testis barrier (BTB). The aim of the present study was to investigate the expression pattern of different tight junction (TJ) proteins of the murine BTB using SC-specific Cx43 knockout mice (SCCx43KO). Adult homozygous male SCCx43KO mice (SCCx43KO-/-) predominantly show an arrest of spermatogenesis and SC-only tubules that might have been caused by an altered BTB assembly, composition or regulation. TJ molecules claudin-3, -5 and -11 were examined in adult wild type (WT) and SCCx43KO-/- mice using immunohistochemistry (IHC) and quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). In this context, investigation of single tubules with residual spermatogenesis in SCCx43KO-/- mice was particularly interesting to identify a potential Cx43-independent influence of germ cells (GC) on BTB composition and dynamics. In tubules without residual spermatogenesis, a diffuse cytoplasmic distribution pattern for claudin-11 protein could be demonstrated in mutant mice. Nevertheless, claudin-11 seems to form functional TJ. Claudin-3 and -5 could not be detected immunohistochemically in the seminiferous epithelium of those tubules. Correspondingly, claudin-3 and -5 mRNA expression was decreased, providing evidence of generally impaired BTB dynamics in adult KO mice. Observations of tubules with residual spermatogenesis suggested a Cx43-independent regulation of TJ proteins by GC populations. To determine initial BTB formation in peripubertal SCCx43KO-/- mice, immunohistochemical staining and qRT-PCR of claudin-11 were carried out in adolescent SCCx43KO-/- and WT mice. Additionally, BTB integrity was functionally analysed using a hypertonic glucose fixative. These analyses revealed that SCCx43KO-/- mice formed an intact BTB during puberty in the same time period as WT mice, which however seemed to be accelerated.

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<![CDATA[KDM1A/LSD1 regulates the differentiation and maintenance of spermatogonia in mice]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5aab0ee8fa60bdf79d

The proper regulation of spermatogenesis is crucial to ensure the continued production of sperm and fertility. Here, we investigated the function of the H3K4me2 demethylase KDM1A/LSD1 during spermatogenesis in developing and adult mice. Conditional deletion of Kdm1a in the testis just prior to birth leads to fewer spermatogonia and germ cell loss before 3 weeks of age. These results demonstrate that KDM1A is required for spermatogonial differentiation, as well as germ cell survival, in the developing testis. In addition, inducible deletion of Kdm1a in the adult testis results in the abnormal accumulation of meiotic spermatocytes, as well as apoptosis and progressive germ cell loss. These results demonstrate that KDM1A is also required during adult spermatogenesis. Furthermore, without KDM1A, the stem cell factor OCT4 is ectopically maintained in differentiating germ cells. This requirement for KDM1A is similar to what has been observed in other stem cell populations, suggesting a common function. Taken together, we propose that KDM1A is a key regulator of spermatogenesis and germ cell maintenance in the mouse.

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<![CDATA[Confocal Analysis of Nuclear Lamina Behavior during Male Meiosis and Spermatogenesis in Drosophila melanogaster]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dadeab0ee8fa60bbaca0

Lamin family proteins are structural components of a filamentous framework, the nuclear lamina (NL), underlying the inner membrane of nuclear envelope. The NL not only plays a role in nucleus mechanical support and nuclear shaping, but is also involved in many cellular processes including DNA replication, gene expression and chromatin positioning. Spermatogenesis is a very complex differentiation process in which each stage is characterized by nuclear architecture dramatic changes, from the early mitotic stage to the sperm differentiation final stage. Nevertheless, very few data are present in the literature on the NL behavior during this process. Here we show the first and complete description of NL behavior during meiosis and spermatogenesis in Drosophila melanogaster. By confocal imaging, we characterized the NL modifications from mitotic stages, through meiotic divisions to sperm differentiation with an anti-laminDm0 antibody against the major component of the Drosophila NL. We observed that continuous changes in the NL structure occurred in parallel with chromatin reorganization throughout the whole process and that meiotic divisions occurred in a closed context. Finally, we analyzed NL in solofuso meiotic mutant, where chromatin segregation is severely affected, and found the strict correlation between the presence of chromatin and that of NL.

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<![CDATA[Molecular cloning and expression analysis of the aqp1aa gene in half-smooth tongue sole (Cynoglossus semilaevis)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db51ab0ee8fa60bdc416

Aquaporin 1 (AQP1) is a member of the transmembrane water channel family of proteins with special structural features, and two AQP1 paralogous genes (aqp1aa and aqp1ab) are reported in teleosts. In the present study, the aqp1aa gene of half-smooth tongue sole (Cynoglossus semilaevis) was cloned and characterized. The full-length cDNA of aqp1aa is 1411 bp with a 786 bp open reading frame encoding a 261-amino acid putative protein with a characteristic structure consisting of 6 membrane-spanning α-helical domains and two highly conserved asparagine—proline—alanine motifs. Real-time quantitative PCR revealed that aqp1aa mRNA is expressed predominantly in the testis of males and pseudo-males, while its expression is low in the ovary and lowest in doublesex and mab-3-related transcription factor 1(DMRT1) knock out fish and triploid males. In situ hybridization indicated that aqp1aa mRNA is expressed mainly in the germ cells of males and pseudo-males, especially in spermatozoa and spermatids. These results suggest that the aqp1aa may play a role in spermatogenesis of C. semilaevis.

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<![CDATA[RAN-Binding Protein 9 is Involved in Alternative Splicing and is Critical for Male Germ Cell Development and Male Fertility]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da36ab0ee8fa60b86514

As a member of the large Ran-binding protein family, Ran-binding protein 9 (RANBP9) has been suggested to play a critical role in diverse cellular functions in somatic cell lineages in vitro, and this is further supported by the neonatal lethality phenotype in Ranbp9 global knockout mice. However, the exact molecular actions of RANBP9 remain largely unknown. By inactivation of Ranbp9 specifically in testicular somatic and spermatogenic cells, we discovered that Ranbp9 was dispensable for Sertoli cell development and functions, but critical for male germ cell development and male fertility. RIP-Seq and proteomic analyses revealed that RANBP9 was associated with multiple key splicing factors and directly targeted >2,300 mRNAs in spermatocytes and round spermatids. Many of the RANBP9 target and non-target mRNAs either displayed aberrant splicing patterns or were dysregulated in the absence of Ranbp9. Our data uncovered a novel role of Ranbp9 in regulating alternative splicing in spermatogenic cells, which is critical for normal spermatogenesis and male fertility.

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<![CDATA[Extracellular Regulation of Sperm Transmembrane Adenylyl Cyclase by a Forward Motility Stimulating Protein]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db3aab0ee8fa60bd484d

Forward motility stimulating factor (FMSF), a glycoprotein isolated from buffalo serum, binds to the surface of the mature sperm cells to promote their progressive motility. This article reports the mode of signal transduction of this extracellular factor in goat sperm. The mechanism was investigated by assaying intracellular second messenger level and forward motility in presence of different pharmacological modulators. Mg++-dependent Forskolin responsive form of transmembrane adenylyl cyclase (tmAC) of goat spermatozoa was probed for its involvement in FMSF action. Dideoxyadenosine, a selective inhibitor of tmACs, was used to identify the role of this enzyme in the scheme of FMSF-signaling. Involvement of the α-subunit of G-protein in this regard has been inspected using GTPγS. Participation of protein kinase A (PKA) and tyrosine kinase was checked using IP20 and genistein, respectively. FMSF promotes tmAC activity in a dose-dependent manner through receptor/G-protein activation to enhance intracellular cAMP and forward motility. Motility boosting effects of this glycoprotein are almost lost in presence of dideoxyadenosine. But, FMSF displayed substantial motility promoting activity when movement of spermatozoa was inhibited with KH7, the specific inhibitor of soluble adenylyl cyclase indicating tmAC to be the primary target of FMSF action. Involvement of cAMP in mediating FMSF action was confirmed by the application of dibutyryl cAMP. Observed motility regulatory effects with IP20 and genistein indicate contribution of PKA and tyrosine kinase in FMSF activity; enhanced phosphorylation of a tyrosine containing ≈50 kDa protein was detected in this regard. FMSF initiates a novel signaling cascade to stimulate tmAC activity that augments intracellular cAMP, which through downstream crosstalk of phosphokinases leads to enhanced forward motility in mature spermatozoa. Thus, this article for the first time describes conventional tmAC-dependent profound activation of progressive motility by a physiologic extracellular factor in a mammalian species.

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<![CDATA[Former Abusers of Anabolic Androgenic Steroids Exhibit Decreased Testosterone Levels and Hypogonadal Symptoms Years after Cessation: A Case-Control Study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db02ab0ee8fa60bc6f6d

Aims

Abuse of anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) is highly prevalent among male recreational athletes. The objective of this study was to investigate the impact of AAS abuse on reproductive hormone levels and symptoms suggestive of hypogonadism in current and former AAS abusers.

Methods

This study had a cross-sectional case-control design and involved 37 current AAS abusers, 33 former AAS abusers (mean (95%CI) elapsed duration since AAS cessation: 2.5 (1.7; 3.7) years) and 30 healthy control participants. All participants were aged 18–50 years and were involved in recreational strength training. Reproductive hormones (FSH, LH, testosterone, inhibin B and anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH)) were measured using morning blood samples. Symptoms of hypogonadism (depressive symptoms, fatigue, decreased libido and erectile dysfunction) were recorded systematically.

Results

Former AAS abusers exhibited significantly lower median (25th –75th percentiles) total and free testosterone levels than control participants (total testosterone: 14.4 (11.9–17.7) nmol/l vs. 18.8 (16.6–22.0) nmol/l) (P < 0.01). Overall, 27.2% (13.3; 45.5) of former AAS abusers exhibited plasma total testosterone levels below the lower reference limit (12.1 nmol/l) whereas no control participants exhibited testosterone below this limit (P < 0.01). Gonadotropins were significantly suppressed, and inhibin B and AMH were significantly decreased in current AAS abusers compared with former AAS abusers and control participants (P < 0.01). The group of former AAS abusers had higher proportions of participants with depressive symptoms ((24.2%) (11.1; 42.2)), erectile dysfunction ((27.3%) (13.3; 45.6)) and decreased libido ((40.1%) (23.2; 57.0)) than the other two groups (trend analyses: P < 0.05).

Conclusions

Former AAS abusers exhibited significantly lower plasma testosterone levels and higher frequencies of symptoms suggestive of hypogonadism than healthy control participants years after AAS cessation. Current AAS abusers exhibited severely decreased AMH and inhibin B indicative of impaired spermatogenesis.

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<![CDATA[Spermitin: A Novel Mitochondrial Protein in Drosophila Spermatids]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dab5ab0ee8fa60bacbd5

Mitochondria, important energy centers in the cell, also control sperm cell morphogenesis. Drosophila spermatids have a remarkably large mitochondrial formation called the nebenkern. Immediately following meiosis during sperm development, the mitochondria in the spermatid fuse together into two large aggregates which then wrap around one another to produce the spherical nebenkern: a giant mitochondrion about 6 micrometers in diameter. The fused mitochondria play an important role in sperm tail elongation by providing a structural platform to support the elongation of sperm cells. We have identified a novel testis-specific protein, Spermitin (Sprn), a protein with a Pleckstrin homology-like (PH) domain related to Ran-binding protein 1 at its C-terminus. Fluorescence microscopy showed that Sprn localizes at mitochondria in transfected Kc167 cells, and in the nebenkern throughout spermatid morphogenesis. The role of Sprn is unclear, as sprn mutant males are fertile, and have sperm tail length comparable to the wild-type.

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<![CDATA[De novo sequencing and comparative analysis of testicular transcriptome from different reproductive phases in freshwater spotted snakehead Channa punctatus]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db52ab0ee8fa60bdc63e

The spotted snakehead Channa punctatus is a seasonally breeding teleost widely distributed in the Indian subcontinent and economically important due to high nutritional value. The declining population of C. punctatus prompted us to focus on genetic regulation of its reproduction. The present study carried out de novo testicular transcriptome sequencing during the four reproductive phases and correlated differential expression of transcripts with various testicular events in C. punctatus. The Illumina paired-end sequencing of testicular transcriptome from resting, preparatory, spawning and postspawning phases generated 41.94, 47.51, 61.81 and 44.45 million reads, and 105526, 105169, 122964 and 106544 transcripts, respectively. Transcripts annotated using Rattus norvegicus reference protein sequences and classified under various subcategories of biological process, molecular function and cellular component showed that the majority of the subcategories had highest number of transcripts during spawning phase. In addition, analysis of transcripts exhibiting differential expression during the four phases revealed an appreciable increase in upregulated transcripts of biological processes such as cell proliferation and differentiation, cytoskeleton organization, response to vitamin A, transcription and translation, regulation of angiogenesis and response to hypoxia during spermatogenically active phases. The study also identified significant differential expression of transcripts relevant to spermatogenesis (mgat3, nqo1, hes2, rgs4, cxcl2, alcam, agmat), steroidogenesis (star, tkt, gipc3), cell proliferation (eef1a2, btg3, pif1, myo16, grik3, trim39, plbd1), cytoskeletal organization (espn, wipf3, cd276), sperm development (klhl10, mast1, hspa1a, slc6a1, ros1, foxj1, hipk1), and sperm transport and motility (hint1, muc13). Analysis of functional annotation and differential expression of testicular transcripts depending on reproductive phases of C. punctatus helped in developing a comprehensive understanding on genetic regulation of spermatogenic and steroidogenic events in seasonally breeding teleosts. Our findings provide the basis for future investigation on the precise role of testicular genes in regulation of seasonal reproduction in male teleosts.

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<![CDATA[Systematic identification and characterization of long non-coding RNAs in mouse mature sperm]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db50ab0ee8fa60bdbea0

Increasing studies have shown that mature spermatozoa contain many transcripts including mRNAs and miRNAs. However, the expression profile of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) in mammalian sperm has not been systematically investigated. Here, we used highly purified RNA to investigate lncRNA expression profiles in mouse mature sperm by stranded-specific RNA-seq. We identified 20,907 known and 4,088 novel lncRNAs transcripts, and the existence of intact lncRNAs was confirmed by RT-PCR and fluorescence in situ hybridization on two representative lncRNAs. Compared to round spermatids, 1,794 upregulated and 165 downregulated lncRNAs and 4,435 upregulated and 3,920 downregulated mRNAs were identified in sperm. Based on the “Cis and Trans” RNA-RNA interaction principle, we found 14,259 targeted coding genes of differently expressed lncRNAs. In terms of Gene ontology (GO) analysis, differentially expressed lncRNAs targeted genes mainly related to nucleic acid metabolic, protein modification, chromatin and histone modification, heterocycle compound metabolic, sperm function, spermatogenesis and other processes. In contrast, differentially expressed transcripts of mRNAs were highly enriched for protein metabolic process and RNA metabolic, spermatogenesis, sperm motility, cell cycle, chromatin organization, heterocycle and aromatic compound metabolic processes. Kyoto encyclopedia of genes and genomes (KEGG) pathway analysis showed that the differentially expressed lncRNAs were involved in RNA transport, mRNA surveillance pathway, PI3K-Akt signaling pathway, AMPK signaling pathway, protein processing in endoplasmic reticulum. Metabolic pathways, mRNA surveillance pathway, AMPK signaling pathway, cell cycle, RNA transport splicesome and endocytosis incorporated with the differentially expressed mRNA. Furthermore, many lncRNAs were specifically expressed in testis/sperm, and 880 lncRNAs were conserved between human and mouse. In summary, this study provides a preliminary database valuable for identifying lncRNAs critical in the late stage of spermatogenesis or important for sperm function regulation, fertilization and early embryo development.

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<![CDATA[Highly Conserved Testicular Localization of Claudin-11 in Normal and Impaired Spermatogenesis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9e2ab0ee8fa60b69f96

In this study we tested expression of tight junction proteins in human, mouse and rat and analyzed the localization of claudin-11 in testis of patients with normal and impaired spermatogenesis. Recent concepts generated in mice suggest that the stage-specifically expressed claudin-3 acts as a basal barrier, sealing the seminiferous epithelium during migration of spermatocytes. Corresponding mechanisms have never been demonstrated in humans. Testicular biopsies (n = 103) from five distinct groups were analyzed: normal spermatogenesis (NSP, n = 28), hypospermatogenesis (Hyp, n = 24), maturation arrest at the level of primary spermatocytes (MA, n = 24), Sertoli cell only syndrome (SCO, n = 19), and spermatogonial arrest (SGA, n = 8). Protein expression of claudin-3, -11 and occludin was analyzed. Human, mice and rat testis robustly express claudin-11 protein. Occludin was detected in mouse and rat and claudin-3 was found only in mice. Thus, we selected claudin-11 for further analysis of localization. In NSP, claudin-11 is located at Sertoli-Sertoli junctions and in Sertoli cell contacts towards spermatogonia. Typically, claudin-11 patches do not reach the basal membrane, unless flanked by the Sertoli cell body or patches between two Sertoli cell bodies. The amount of basal claudin-11 patches was found to be increased in impaired spermatogenesis. Only claudin-11 is expressed in all three species examined. The claudin-11 pattern is robust in man with impaired spermatogenesis, but the proportion of localization is altered in SCO and MA. We conclude that claudin-11 might represent the essential component of the BTB in human.

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<![CDATA[Transcriptome using Illumina sequencing reveals the traits of spermatogenesis and developing testes in Eriocheir sinensis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db53ab0ee8fa60bdcb41

Chinese mitten crab (Eriocheir sinensis) has the spermatozoa with typical aflagellate, decondensed chromatin, cup-shaped nuclei, and radial arms. However, the mechanism of spermatogenesis during which the specific spermatozoa are generated in this species is yet unclear. Here, the transcriptome of developing testis in E. sinensis was analyzed using the ways of RNA-seq and bioinformatics analysis to identify candidate genes potentially involved in development of testis and spermatogenesis. The Illumina HiSeq2500 sequencing of three replicons of samples produced a total of 145.19 M clean reads representing with a total of 21.34 Gb bases and 45.48% GC content. 56.30% clean reads were mapped to the draft genome of E. sinensis. The assembly of the transcriptome yielded contigs of 5691802 sequences and unigenes of 406527 sequences. Total 24246 and 40793 transcripts were annotated using Swissprot and Nr database, respectively. There were 48213 (70.31%) and 7858 (46.25%) transcripts with identity of more than 99 matching to mature testis unigenes in the databases of Nr and EST, respectively. The analytic results of KOG, GO and KEGG showed wide potential molecular functions of transcripts in the developing testes. KEGG analysis of unigenes yielded total 9422 predicted genes. Those predicted genes were involved in total 216 KEGG pathways related to the physiological activities of developing testis. 1975 predicted genes were involved in cellular and subcellular structural alteration of male germ cells. There were important roles of some pathways in the processes of morphological and structural biogenesis pertaining to testis development and spermatogenesis. Other 583 unigenes encoding the genetic and epigenetic factors also be found, which might contribute to the decondensation and stability of decondensed nuclei in the spermatozoa. These predicted events provide a view of the potential molecular mechanisms of development of testis and spermatogenesis in E. sinensis.

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<![CDATA[Discovery of piRNAs Pathway Associated with Early-Stage Spermatogenesis in Chicken]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db49ab0ee8fa60bd984d

Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) play a key role in spermatogenesis. Here, we describe the piRNAs profiling of primordial germ cells (PGCs), spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs), and the spermatogonium (Sp) during early-stage spermatogenesis in chicken. We obtained 31,361,989 reads from PGCs, 31,757,666 reads from SSCs, and 46,448,327 reads from Sp cells. The length distribution of piRNAs in the three samples showed peaks at 33 nt. The resulting genes were subsequently annotated against the Gene Ontology (GO) database. Five genes (RPL7A, HSPA8, Pum1, CPXM2, and PRKCA) were found to be involved in cellular processes. Interactive pathway analysis (IPA) further revealed three important pathways in early-stage spermatogenesis including the FGF, Wnt, and EGF receptor signaling pathways. The gene Pum1 was found to promote germline stem cell proliferation, but it also plays a role in spermatogenesis. In conclusion, we revealed characteristics of piRNAs during early spermatogonial development in chicken and provided the basis for future research.

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<![CDATA[Ubiquitin Carboxy-Terminal HydrolaseL3 Correlates with Human Sperm Count, Motility and Fertilization]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daeeab0ee8fa60bc01ca

Ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase L3 (UCHL3) belongs to the group of deubiquitinating enzymes and plays a part in apoptosis of germ cells and the differentiation of spermatocytes into spermatids. However, the exact role of UCHL3 in human spermatogenesis and sperm function remains unknown. Here we examined the level and activity of UCHL3 in spermatozoa from men with asthenozoospermia (A), oligoasthenozoospermia (OA) or normozoospermia (N). Immunofluorescence indicated that UCHL3 was mainly localized in the acrosome and throughout the flagella, and western blotting revealed a lower level in A or OA compared with N (p < 0.05). The catalytic activity of UCHL3 was decreased in spermatozoa from A or OA (p < 0.05, p < 0.001, respectively). The level and activity of UCHL3 were positively correlated with sperm count, concentration and motility. The UCHL3 level was positively correlated with the normal fertilization rate (FR) and percentage of embryos suitable for transfer/cryopreservation of in vitro fertilization (IVF). The UCHL3 activity was also positively correlated with FR, the percentage of embryos suitable for transfer/cryopreservation and high-quality embryos rate of IVF. Aforementioned correlations were not manifested in intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). These findings suggest that UCHL3 may play a role in male infertility.

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