Spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) capable of self-renewal and differentiation are the foundation for spermatogenesis. Although several factors important for these processes have been identified, the fundamental mechanisms regulating SSC self-renewal and differentiation remain unknown. Here, we investigated a role for the Foxo transcription factors in mouse spermatogenesis and found that Foxo1 specifically marks mouse gonocytes and a subset of spermatogonia with stem cell potential. Genetic analyses showed that Foxo1 was required for both SSC homeostasis and the initiation of spermatogenesis. Combined deficiency of Foxo1, Foxo3, and Foxo4 resulted in a severe impairment of SSC self-renewal and a complete block of differentiation, indicating that Foxo3 and Foxo4, although dispensable for male fertility, contribute to SSC function. By conditional inactivation of 3-phosphoinositide–dependent protein kinase 1 (Pdk1) and phosphatase and tensin homolog (Pten) in the male germ line, we found that PI3K signaling regulates Foxo1 stability and subcellular localization, revealing that the Foxos are pivotal effectors of PI3K-Akt signaling in SSCs. We also identified a network of Foxo gene targets — most notably Ret — that rationalized the maintenance of SSCs by the Foxos. These studies demonstrate that Foxo1 expression in the spermatogenic lineage is intimately associated with the stem cell state and revealed what we believe to be novel Foxo-dependent mechanisms underlying SSC self-renewal and differentiation, with implications for common diseases, including male infertility and testicular cancer, due to abnormalities in SSC function.
Meredith J. Goertz, Zhuoru Wu, Teresa D. Gallardo, F. Kent Hamra, Diego H. Castrillon
Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) is a common condition affecting almost half of women over the age of 50. The molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying this condition, however, remain poorly understood. Here we have reported that fibulin-5, an integrin-binding matricellular protein that is essential for elastic fiber assembly, regulated the activity of MMP-9 to maintain integrity of the vaginal wall and prevented development of POP. In murine vaginal stromal cells, fibulin-5 inhibited the β1 integrin–dependent, fibronectin-mediated upregulation of MMP-9. Mice in which the integrin-binding motif was mutated to an integrin-disrupting motif (Fbln5RGE/RGE) exhibited upregulation of MMP-9 in vaginal tissues. In contrast to fibulin-5 knockouts (Fbln5–/–), Fbln5RGE/RGE mice were able to form intact elastic fibers and did not exhibit POP. However, treatment of mice with β-aminopropionitrile (BAPN), an inhibitor of matrix cross-linking enzymes, induced subclinical POP. Conversely, deletion of Mmp9 in Fbln5–/– mice significantly attenuated POP by increasing elastic fiber density and improving collagen fibrils. Vaginal tissue samples from pre- and postmenopausal women with POP also displayed significantly increased levels of MMP-9. These results suggest that POP is an acquired disorder of extracellular matrix and that therapies targeting matrix proteases may be successful for preventing or ameliorating POP in women.
Madhusudhan Budatha, Shayzreen Roshanravan, Qian Zheng, Cecilia Weislander, Shelby L. Chapman, Elaine C. Davis, Barry Starcher, R. Ann Word, Hiromi Yanagisawa
During intrauterine life, the mammalian embryo survives via its physical connection to the mother. The uterine decidua, which differentiates from stromal cells after implantation in a process known as decidualization, plays essential roles in supporting embryonic growth before establishment of the placenta. Here we show that female mice lacking death effector domain–containing protein (DEDD) are infertile owing to unsuccessful decidualization. In uteri of Dedd–/– mice, development of the decidual zone and the surrounding edema after embryonic implantation was defective. This was subsequently accompanied by disintegration of implantation site structure, leading to embryonic death before placentation. Polyploidization, a hallmark of mature decidual cells, was attenuated in DEDD-deficient cells during decidualization. Such inefficient decidualization appeared to be caused by decreased Akt levels, since polyploidization was restored in DEDD-deficient decidual cells by overexpression of Akt. In addition, we showed that DEDD associates with and stabilizes cyclin D3, an important element in polyploidization, and that overexpression of cyclin D3 in DEDD-deficient cells improved polyploidization. These results indicate that DEDD is indispensable for the establishment of an adequate uterine environment to support early pregnancy in mice.
Mayumi Mori, Miwako Kitazume, Rui Ose, Jun Kurokawa, Kaori Koga, Yutaka Osuga, Satoko Arai, Toru Miyazaki
Translational control plays a key role in late spermiogenesis. A number of mRNAs encoding proteins required for late spermiogenesis are expressed in early spermatids but are stored as translationally inactive messenger ribonucleoprotein particles (mRNPs). The translation of these mRNAs is associated with shortening of their poly(A) tail in late spermiogenesis. Poly(A)-binding protein (Pabp) plays an important role in mRNA stabilization and translation. Three Pabp-interacting proteins, Paip1, Paip2a, and Paip2b, have been described. Paip2a is expressed in late spermatids. To investigate the role of Paip2 in spermiogenesis, we generated mice with knockout of either Paip2a or Paip2b and double-KO (DKO) mice lacking both Paip2a and Paip2b. Paip2a-KO and Paip2a/Paip2b-DKO mice exhibited male infertility. Translation of several mRNAs encoding proteins essential to male germ cell development was inhibited in late spermiogenesis in Paip2a/Paip2b-DKO mice, resulting in defective elongated spermatids. Inhibition of translation in Paip2a/Paip2b-DKO mice was caused by aberrant increased expression of Pabp, which impaired the interaction between eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) and the cap structure at the 5′ end of the mRNA. We therefore propose a model whereby efficient mRNA translation in late spermiogenesis occurs at an optimal concentration of Pabp, a condition not fulfilled in Paip2a/Paip2b-DKO mice.
Akiko Yanagiya, Geraldine Delbes, Yuri V. Svitkin, Bernard Robaire, Nahum Sonenberg
Sirtuins are a phylogenetically conserved NAD+-dependent protein deacetylase/ADP-ribosyltransferase family implicated in diverse biological processes. Several family members localize to mitochondria, the function of which is thought to determine the developmental potential of preimplantation embryos. We have therefore characterized the role of sirtuins in mouse preimplantation development under in vitro culture conditions. All sirtuin members were expressed in eggs, and their expression gradually decreased until the blastocyst stage. Treatment with sirtuin inhibitors resulted in increased intracellular ROS levels and decreased blastocyst formation. These effects were recapitulated by siRNA-induced knockdown of Sirt3, which is involved in mitochondrial energy metabolism, and in Sirt3–/– embryos. The antioxidant N-acetyl-L-cysteine and low-oxygen conditions rescued these adverse effects. When Sirt3-knockdown embryos were transferred to pseudopregnant mice after long-term culture, implantation and fetal growth rates were decreased, indicating that Sirt3-knockdown embryos were sensitive to in vitro conditions and that the effect was long lasting. Further experiments revealed that maternally derived Sirt3 was critical. Sirt3 inactivation increased mitochondrial ROS production, leading to p53 upregulation and changes in downstream gene expression. The inactivation of p53 improved the developmental outcome of Sirt3-knockdown embryos, indicating that the ROS-p53 pathway was responsible for the developmental defects. These results indicate that Sirt3 plays a protective role in preimplantation embryos against stress conditions during in vitro fertilization and culture.
Yumiko Kawamura, Yasunobu Uchijima, Nanao Horike, Kazuo Tonami, Koichi Nishiyama, Tomokazu Amano, Tomoichiro Asano, Yukiko Kurihara, Hiroki Kurihara
Although lipid metabolism is thought to be important for the proper maturation and function of spermatozoa, the molecular mechanisms that underlie this dynamic process in the gonads remains incompletely understood. Here, we show that group III phospholipase A2 (sPLA2-III), a member of the secreted phospholipase A2 (sPLA2) family, is expressed in the mouse proximal epididymal epithelium and that targeted disruption of the gene encoding this protein (Pla2g3) leads to defects in sperm maturation and fertility. Although testicular spermatogenesis in Pla2g3–/– mice was grossly normal, spermatozoa isolated from the cauda epididymidis displayed hypomotility, and their ability to fertilize intact eggs was markedly impaired. Transmission EM further revealed that epididymal spermatozoa in Pla2g3–/– mice had both flagella with abnormal axonemes and aberrant acrosomal structures. During epididymal transit, phosphatidylcholine in the membrane of Pla2g3+/+ sperm underwent a dramatic shift in its acyl groups from oleic, linoleic, and arachidonic acids to docosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids, whereas this membrane lipid remodeling event was compromised in sperm from Pla2g3–/– mice. Moreover, the gonads of Pla2g3–/– mice contained less 12/15-lipoxygenase metabolites than did those of Pla2g3+/+ mice. Together, our results reveal a role for the atypical sPLA2 family member sPLA2-III in epididymal lipid homeostasis and indicate that its perturbation may lead to sperm dysfunction.
Hiroyasu Sato, Yoshitaka Taketomi, Yuki Isogai, Yoshimi Miki, Kei Yamamoto, Seiko Masuda, Tomohiko Hosono, Satoru Arata, Yukio Ishikawa, Toshiharu Ishii, Tetsuyuki Kobayashi, Hiroki Nakanishi, Kazutaka Ikeda, Ryo Taguchi, Shuntaro Hara, Ichiro Kudo, Makoto Murakami
Ejaculated mammalian sperm must undergo a maturation process called capacitation before they are able to fertilize an egg. Several studies have suggested a role for members of the secreted phospholipase A2 (sPLA2) family in capacitation, acrosome reaction (AR), and fertilization, but the molecular nature of these enzymes and their specific roles have remained elusive. Here, we have demonstrated that mouse group X sPLA2 (mGX) is the major enzyme present in the acrosome of spermatozoa and that it is released in an active form during capacitation through spontaneous AR. mGX-deficient male mice produced smaller litters than wild-type male siblings when crossed with mGX-deficient females. Further analysis revealed that spermatozoa from mGX-deficient mice exhibited lower rates of spontaneous AR and that this was associated with decreased in vitro fertilization (IVF) efficiency due to a drop in the fertilization potential of the sperm and an increased rate of aborted embryos. Treatment of sperm with sPLA2 inhibitors and antibodies specific for mGX blocked spontaneous AR of wild-type sperm and reduced IVF success. Addition of lysophosphatidylcholine, a catalytic product of mGX, overcame these deficiencies. Finally, recombinant mGX triggered AR and improved IVF outcome. Taken together, our results highlight a paracrine role for mGX during capacitation in which the enzyme primes sperm for efficient fertilization and boosts premature AR of a likely phospholipid-damaged sperm subpopulation to eliminate suboptimal sperm from the pool available for fertilization.
Jessica Escoffier, Ikram Jemel, Akemi Tanemoto, Yoshitaka Taketomi, Christine Payre, Christelle Coatrieux, Hiroyasu Sato, Kei Yamamoto, Seiko Masuda, Karin Pernet-Gallay, Virginie Pierre, Shuntaro Hara, Makoto Murakami, Michel De Waard, Gérard Lambeau, Christophe Arnoult
Many signaling pathways that contribute to tumorigenesis are also functional in pregnancy, although they are dysregulated in the former and tightly regulated in the latter. Transformation-related protein 53 (Trp53), which encodes p53, is a tumor suppressor gene whose mutation is strongly associated with cancer. However, its role in normal physiological processes, including female reproduction, is poorly understood. Mice that have a constitutive deletion of Trp53 exhibit widespread development of carcinogenesis at early reproductive ages, compromised spermatogenesis, and fetal exencephaly, rendering them less amenable to studying the role of p53 in reproduction. To overcome this obstacle, we generated mice that harbor a conditional deletion of uterine Trp53 and examined pregnancy outcome in females with this genotype. These mice had normal ovulation, fertilization, and implantation; however, postimplantation uterine decidual cells showed terminal differentiation and senescence-associated growth restriction with increased levels of phosphorylated Akt and p21, factors that are both known to participate in these processes in other systems. Strikingly, uterine deletion of Trp53 increased the incidence of preterm birth, a condition that was corrected by oral administration of the selective COX2 inhibitor celecoxib. We further generated evidence to suggest that deletion of uterine Trp53 induces preterm birth through a COX2/PGF synthase/PGF2α pathway. Taken together, our observations underscore what we believe to be a new critical role of uterine p53 in parturition.
Yasushi Hirota, Takiko Daikoku, Susanne Tranguch, Huirong Xie, Heather B. Bradshaw, Sudhansu K. Dey
Embryo implantation induces formation of the decidua, a stromal cell–derived structure that encases the fetus and placenta. Using the mouse as a model organism, we have found that this tissue reaction prevents DCs stationed at the maternal/fetal interface from migrating to the lymphatic vessels of the uterus and thus reaching the draining lymph nodes. Strikingly, decidual DCs remained immobile even after being stimulated with LPS and exhibiting responsiveness to CCL21, the chemokine that drives DC entry into lymphatic vessels. An analysis of maternal T cell reactivity toward a surrogate fetal/placental antigen furthermore revealed that regional T cell responses toward the fetus and placenta were driven by passive antigen transport and thus the tolerogenic mode of antigen presentation that predominates when there is negligible input from tissue-resident DCs. Indeed, the lack of involvement of tissue-resident DCs in the T cell response to the fetal allograft starkly contrasts with their prominent role in organ transplant rejection. Our results suggest that DC entrapment within the decidua minimizes immunogenic T cell exposure to fetal/placental antigens and raise the possibility that impaired development or function of the human decidua, which unlike that of the mouse contains lymphatic vessels, might lead to pathological T cell activation during pregnancy.
Mary K. Collins, Chin-Siean Tay, Adrian Erlebacher
The mammalian epididymis provides sperm with an environment that promotes their maturation and protects them from external stresses. For example, it harbors an array of antioxidants, including non-conventional glutathione peroxidase 5 (GPX5), to protect them from oxidative stress. To explore the role of GPX5 in the epididymis, we generated mice that lack epididymal expression of the enzyme. Histological analyses of Gpx5–/– epididymides and sperm cells revealed no obvious defects. Furthermore, there were no apparent differences in the fertilization rate of sexually mature Gpx5–/– male mice compared with WT male mice. However, a higher incidence of miscarriages and developmental defects were observed when WT female mice were mated with Gpx5-deficient males over 1 year old compared with WT males of the same age. Flow cytometric analysis of spermatozoa recovered from Gpx5-null and WT male mice revealed that sperm DNA compaction was substantially lower in the cauda epididymides of Gpx5-null animals and that they suffered from DNA oxidative attacks. Real-time PCR analysis of enzymatic scavengers expressed in the mouse epididymis indicated that the cauda epididymidis epithelium of Gpx5-null male mice mounted an antioxidant response to cope with an excess of ROS. These observations suggest that GPX5 is a potent antioxidant scavenger in the luminal compartment of the mouse cauda epididymidis that protects spermatozoa from oxidative injuries that could compromise their integrity and, consequently, embryo viability.
Eléonore Chabory, Christelle Damon, Alain Lenoir, Gary Kauselmann, Hedrun Kern, Branko Zevnik, Catherine Garrel, Fabrice Saez, Rémi Cadet, Joelle Henry-Berger, Michael Schoor, Ulrich Gottwald, Ursula Habenicht, Joël R. Drevet, Patrick Vernet