Abstract Existing methods for evaluating the potential gonadotoxicity of environmental agents and pharmaceutical compounds rely heavily on animal studies. The current gold standard in vivo functional assays in animals are limited in their human predictive capacity. In addition, existing human two-dimensional in vitro models of testicular toxicity do not accurately reflect the in vivo situation. A more reliable testicular in vitro model system is needed to better assess the gonadotoxic potential of drugs prior to progression into clinical trials. The overall goal of this study was to develop a three-dimensional (3D) in vitro human testis organoid culture system for use as both a predictive first tier drug-screening tool and as a model of human testicular function. Multicellular human testicular organoids composed of Spermatogonial Stem Cells, Sertoli, Leydig and peritubular cells were created and evaluated over time for morphology, viability, androgen production and ability to support germ cell differentiation. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay measurements confirmed that the organoids produced testosterone continuously with and without hCG stimulation. Upregulation of postmeiotic genes including PRM1 and Acrosin, detected by quantitative-PCR, digital PCR and Immunofluorescence, indicated the transition of a small percentage of diploid to haploid germ cells. As a novel screening tool for reproductive toxicity, 3D organoids were exposed to four chemotherapeutic drugs, and they responded in a dose-dependent manner and maintained IC50 values significantly higher than 2D cultures. This 3D human testis organoid system has the potential to be used as a novel testicular toxicity-screening tool and in vitro model for human spermatogenesis. Summary Sentence Human testicular organoid produces testosterone and provides a niche for germ cell differentiation.
This study evaluated the receptor- and/or antioxidant stress-mediated mechanisms by which melatonin prevents the ovarian toxicity of cisplatin treatment. The expression of the MT1 receptor in mouse ovaries was investigated by immunohistochemistry. Pretreatment with melatonin (5, 10, or 20 mg/kg body weight, i.p.) before cisplatin (5 mg/kg body weight, i.p.) was administered to mice once daily for 3 days (phase I). The pharmacological modulation via melatonin type 1 and/or 2 receptors was analyzed by administration of receptor antagonists (luzindole: nonselective MT1/MT2 antagonist; 5 mg/kg body weight or 4-phenyl-2-propionamidotetralin: selective MT2 antagonist; 4mg/kg body weight) once daily for 3 days, 15 min before the treatment with melatonin and cisplatin (phase II). Thereafter, the ovaries were harvested and used for histological (morphology and activation), immunohistochemical (PCNA, activated caspase-3 and bcl-2 expression), terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling, and fluorescence (reactive oxygen species [ROS], glutathione [GSH], and active mitochondria levels) analyses. The expression of the MT1 protein in mouse ovaries was documented. Pretreatment with 20 mg/kg melatonin before cisplatin administration preserved the normal follicular morphology and cell proliferation rate, reduced apoptosis, ROS production, mitochondrial damage and increased GSH expression, as compared to the cisplatin treatment alone. Additionally, administration of the nonselective MT1/MT2 receptor antagonist inhibited the melatonin ovarian protection from the cytotoxic effects of cisplatin. However, administration of a selective MT2 antagonist did not modify the protective effects observed at 20 mg/kg melatonin. In conclusion, pretreatment with 20 mg/kg melatonin effectively protected the ovaries against cisplatin-induced damage. Moreover, the MT1 receptor and melatonin antioxidant effects mediated this cytoprotective activity. Summary Sentence Melatonin attenuated cisplatin-induced ovarian damage in mice, and the MT1 receptor could be used as a promising therapeutic target to the development of novel agents for preserving ovarian function during chemotherapy.
Abstract The placenta is a critical organ during pregnancy, essential for the provision of an optimal intrauterine environment, with fetal survival, growth, and development relying on correct placental function. It must allow nutritional compounds and relevant hormones to pass into the fetal bloodstream and metabolic waste products to be cleared. It also acts as a semipermeable barrier to potentially harmful chemicals, both endogenous and exogenous. Transporter proteins allow for bidirectional transport and are found in the syncytiotrophoblast of the placenta and endothelium of fetal capillaries. The major transporter families in the human placenta are ATP-binding cassette (ABC) and solute carrier (SLC), and insufficiency of these transporters may lead to deleterious effects on the fetus. Transporter expression levels are gestation-dependent and this is of considerable clinical interest as levels of drug resistance may be altered from one trimester to the next. This highlights the importance of these transporters in mediating correct and timely transplacental passage of essential compounds but also for efflux of potentially toxic drugs and xenobiotics. We review the current literature on placental molecular transporters with respect to their localization and ontogeny, the influence of fetal sex, and the relevance of animal models. We conclude that a paucity of information exists, and further studies are required to unlock the enigma of this dynamic organ. Summary Sentence This review summarises the existing knowledge of human placental molecular transporters (SLC and ABC superfamilies). We highlight areas where greater and more accurate knowledge is required and discuss weaknesses of animal models for the human.
Abstract Gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GNIH) was discovered in quail with the ability to reduce gonadotropin expression/secretion in the pituitary. There have been few studies on GNIH orthologs in teleosts (LPXRFamide (Lpxrfa) peptides), which have provided inconsistent results. Therefore, the goal of this study was to determine the roles and modes of action by which Lpxrfa exerts its functions in the brain–pituitary axis of zebrafish (Danio rerio). We localized Lpxrfa soma to the ventral hypothalamus, with fibers extending throughout the brain and to the pituitary. In the preoptic area, Lpxrfa fibers interact with gonadotropin-releasing hormone 3 (Gnrh3) soma. In pituitary explants, zebrafish peptide Lpxrfa-3 downregulated luteinizing hormone beta subunit and common alpha subunit expression. In addition, Lpxrfa-3 reduced gnrh3 expression in brain slices, offering another pathway for Lpxrfa to exert its effects on reproduction. Receptor activation studies, in a heterologous cell-based system, revealed that all three zebrafish Lpxrfa peptides activate Lpxrf-R2 and Lpxrf-R3 via the PKA/cAMP pathway. Receptor activation studies demonstrated that, in addition to activating Lpxrf receptors, zebrafish Lpxrfa-2 and Lpxrfa-3 antagonize Kisspeptin-2 (Kiss2) activation of Kisspeptin receptor-1a (Kiss1ra). The fact that kiss1ra-expressing neurons in the preoptic area are innervated by Lpxrfa-ir fibers suggests an additional pathway for Lpxrfa action. Therefore, our results suggest that Lpxrfa may act as a reproductive inhibitory neuropeptide in the zebrafish that interacts with Gnrh3 neurons in the brain and with gonadotropes in the pituitary, while also potentially utilizing the Kiss2/Kiss1ra pathway. Summary Sentence Lpxrfa regulates reproduction in the zebrafish brain–pituitary axis through inhibitory effects on gonadotropins and Gnrh3, and Lpxrfa elicits these effects by utilizing Lpxrf receptors, as well as receptors of other reproductive neuropeptides.
Abstract Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) is a plasticizer found in polyvinyl chloride products such as vinyl flooring, plastic food containers, medical devices, and children's toys. DEHP is a ubiquitous environmental contaminant and is a known endocrine disrupting chemical. Little is known about the effects of prenatal DEHP exposure on the ovary and whether effects occur in subsequent generations. Thus, we tested the hypothesis that prenatal exposure to DEHP disrupts ovarian functions in the F1, F2, and F3 generations of female mice. To test this hypothesis, pregnant CD-1 mice were orally dosed with corn oil (vehicle control) or DEHP (20 and 200 μg/kg/day and 200, 500, and 750 mg/kg/day) daily from gestation day 10.5 until birth (7–28 dams/treatment group). F1 females were mated with untreated males to obtain the F2 generation, and F2 females were mated with untreated males to produce the F3 generation. On postnatal days 1, 8, 21, and 60, ovaries were collected and used for histological evaluation of follicle numbers and sera were used to measure progesterone, testosterone, 17β-estradiol, luteinizing hormone, and follicle stimulating hormone levels. In the F1 generation, prenatal exposure to DEHP disrupted body and organ weights, decreased folliculogenesis, and increased serum 17β-estradiol levels. In the F2 generation, exposure to DEHP decreased body and organ weights, dysregulated folliculogenesis, and disrupted serum progesterone levels. In the F3 generation, DEHP exposure accelerated folliculogenesis. These data suggest that prenatal exposure to DEHP leads to adverse multigenerational and transgenerational effects on ovarian function. Summary Sentence Developmental exposure to di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate adversely affects ovarian functions in multiple generations of mice.
Abstract Major clinical challenges for obstetricians and neonatologists result from early cervix remodeling and preterm birth. Complications related to cervix remodeling or delivery account for significant morbidity in newborns and peripartum mothers. Understanding morphology and structure of the cervix in pregnant women is limited mostly to the period soon before and after birth. However, evidence in rodent models supports a working hypothesis that a convergence of factors promotes a physiological inflammatory process that degrades the extracellular collagen matrix and enhances biomechanical distensibility of the cervix well before the uterus develops the contractile capabilities for labor. Contributing factors to this remodeling process include innervation, mechanical stretch, hypoxia, and proinflammatory mediators. Importantly, the softening and shift to ripening occurs while progesterone is near peak concentrations in circulation across species. Since progesterone is required to maintain pregnancy, the premise of this review is that loss of responsiveness to progesterone constitutes a common final mechanism for remodeling the mammalian cervix in preparation for birth at term. Various inputs are suggested to promote signaling between stromal cells and resident macrophages to drive proinflammatory processes that advance the soft cervix into ripening. With infection, pathophysiological processes may prematurely drive components of this remodeling mechanism and lead to preterm birth. Identification of critical molecules and pathways from studies in various rodent models hold promise for novel endpoints to assess risk and provide innovative approaches to treat preterm birth or promote the progress of ripening at term. Summary Sentence The mechanism for cervix remodeling in preparation for birth is proposed to involve a convergence of inputs and complex orchestration of inflammatory processes that direct resident macrophage activities to drive extracellular matrix degradation.
Abstract The precise timing of progesterone signaling through its cognate receptor, the progesterone receptor (PGR), is critical for the establishment and maintenance of pregnancy. Loss of PGR expression in the murine uterine epithelium during the preimplantation period is a marker for uterine receptivity and embryo attachment. We hypothesized that the decrease in progesterone receptor A (PGRA) expression is necessary for successful embryo implantation. To test this hypothesis, a mouse model constitutively expressing PGRA (mPgrALsL /+ ) was generated. Expression of PGRA in all uterine compartments (Pgrcre ) or uterine epithelium (Wnt7acre ) resulted in infertility with defects in embryo attachment and stromal decidualization. Expression of critical PGRA target genes, indian hedgehog, and amphiregulin (Areg), was maintained through the window of receptivity while the estrogen receptor target gene, the leukemia inhibitory factor (Lif), a key regulator of embryo receptivity, was decreased. Transcriptomic and cistromic analyses of the mouse uterus at day 4.5 of pregnancy identified an altered group of genes regulating molecular transport in the control of fluid and ion levels within the uterine interstitial space. Additionally, LIF and its cognate receptor, the leukemia inhibitory factor receptor (LIFR), exhibited PGR-binding events in regions upstream of the transcriptional start sites, suggesting PGRA is inhibiting transcription at these loci. Therefore, downregulation of the PGRA isoform at the window of receptivity is necessary for the attenuation of hedgehog signaling, transcriptional activation of LIF signaling, and modulation of solutes and fluid, producing a receptive environment for the attaching embryo. Summary Sentence Expression of PGRA at the window of receptivity transcriptionally represses LIF signaling and aberrantly regulates hedgehog and solute signaling rendering the uterus unreceptive to the implanting embryo.
In humans, germline competency and the specification of primordial germ cells (PGCs) are thought to occur in a restricted developmental window during early embryogenesis. Despite the importance of specifying the appropriate number of PGCs for human reproduction, the molecular mechanisms governing PGC formation remain largely unexplored. Here, we compared PGC-like cell (PGCLC) differentiation from 18 independently derived human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines, and discovered that the expression of primitive streak genes were positively associated with hESC germline competency. Furthermore, we show that chemical inhibition of TGF beta and WNT signaling, which are required for primitive streak formation and CRISPR/Cas9 deletion of Eomesodermin (EOMES), significantly impacts PGCLC differentiation from hESCs. Taken together, our results suggest that human PGC formation involves signaling and transcriptional programs associated with somatic germ layer induction and expression of EOMES. Summary Sentence EOMES induction in the progenitor cell prior to germ cell formation in vitro from hESCs is required for efficient PGC-like cell formation.
With half a million babies born preterm each year in the USA and about 15 million worldwide, preterm birth (PTB) remains a global health issue. Preterm birth is a primary cause of infant morbidity and mortality and can impact lives long past infancy. The fact that there are numerous, and many currently unidentified, etiologies of PTB has hindered development of tools for risk evaluation and preventative therapies. Infection is estimated to be involved in nearly 40% of PTBs of known etiology; therefore, understanding how infection-mediated inflammation alters the cervical milieu and leads to preterm tissue biomechanical changes are questions of interest. Using RNA-seq, we identified enrichment of components involved in inflammasome activation and unique proteases in the mouse cervix during lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-mediated PTB and not physiologically at term before labor. Despite transcriptional induction of inflammasome components, there was no evidence of functional activation based on assessment of mature IL1B and IL18 proteins. The increased transcription of proteases that target both elastic fibers and collagen and concentration of myeloid-derived cells capable of protease synthesis in the cervical stroma support the structural disruption of elastic fibers as a functional output of protease activity. The recent demonstration that elastic fibers contribute to the biomechanical function of the pregnant cervix suggests their protease-induced disruption in the infection model of LPS-mediated PTB and may contribute to premature loss of mechanical competency and preterm delivery. Collectively, the transcriptomics and ultrastructural data provide new insights into the distinct mechanisms of premature cervical remodeling in response to infection. Summary Sentence A distinct transcriptome signature and pattern of ECM ultrastructure distinguish inflammation-mediated premature cervical ripening from term ripening.
Abstract A single missense mutation at position 159 of coenzyme Q9 (COQ9) (G→A; rs109301586) has been associated with genetic variation in fertility in Holstein cattle, with the A allele associated with higher fertility. COQ9 is involved in the synthesis of coenzyme COQ10, a component of the electron transport system of the mitochondria. Here we tested whether reproductive phenotype is associated with the mutation and evaluated functional consequences for cellular oxygen metabolism, body weight changes, and ovarian function. The mutation in COQ9 modifies predicted tertiary protein structure and affected mitochondrial respiration of peripheral blood mononuclear cells. The A allele was associated with low resting oxygen consumption and high electron transport system capacity. Phenotypic measurements for fertility were evaluated for up to five lactations in a population of 2273 Holstein cows. There were additive effects of the mutation (P < 0.05) in favor of the A allele for pregnancy rate, interval from calving to conception, and services per conception. There was no association of genotype with milk production or body weight changes postpartum. The mutation in COQ9 affected ovarian function; the A allele was associated with increased mitochondrial DNA copy number in oocytes, and there were overdominance effects for COQ9 expression in oocytes, follicle number, and antimullerian hormone concentrations. Overall, results show how a gene involved in mitochondrial function is associated with overall fertility, possibly in part by affecting oocyte quality. Summary Sentence A SNP in COQ9 was described that changes predicted protein structure, is associated with altered mitochondrial afunction, and that modulates reproductive function in dairy cattle, possibly by regulating oocyte quality.
Cellular response to reactive oxygen species (ROS) includes both reversible redox signaling and irreversible nonenzymatic reactions which depend on the nature and concentration of the ROS involved. Changes in thiol/disulfide pairs affect protein conformation, enzymatic activity, ligand binding, and protein-protein interactions. During spermatogenesis and epididymal maturation, there are ROS-dependent modifications of the sperm chromatin and flagellar proteins. The spermatozoon is regulated by redox mechanisms to acquire fertilizing ability. For this purpose, controlled amounts of ROS are necessary to assure sperm activation (motility and capacitation). Modifications of the thiol groups redox status of sperm proteins are needed for spermatozoon to achieve fertilizing ability. However, when ROS are produced at high concentrations, the established oxidative stress promotes pathological changes affecting sperm function and leading to infertility. Sperm proteins are sensitive to high levels of ROS and suffer modifications that impact on motility, capacitation, and the ability of the spermatozoon to recognize and bind to the zona pellucida and damage of sperm DNA. Thiol oxidation, tyrosine nitration, and S-glutathionylation are highlighted in this review as significant redox-dependent protein modifications associated with impairment of sperm function and alteration of paternal genome leading to infertility. Peroxiredoxins, the primary antioxidant protection in spermatozoa, are affected by most of the protein modifications described in this review. They play a significant role in both physiological and pathological processes in mammalian spermatozoa. Summary Sentence Reactive oxygen species promote redox-dependent protein modifications that lead to impairment of sperm function.
Mammalian reproduction requires that males and females produce functional haploid germ cells through complex cellular differentiation processes known as spermatogenesis and oogenesis, respectively. While numerous studies have functionally characterized protein-coding genes and small noncoding RNAs (microRNAs and piRNAs) that are essential for gametogenesis, the roles of regulatory long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are yet to be fully characterized. Previously, we and others have demonstrated that intergenic regions of the mammalian genome encode thousands of long noncoding RNAs, and many studies have now demonstrated their critical roles in key biological processes. Thus, we postulated that some lncRNAs may also impact mammalian spermatogenesis and fertility. In this study, we identified a dynamic expression pattern of lncRNAs during murine spermatogenesis. Importantly, we identified a subset of lncRNAs and very few mR-NAs that appear to escape meiotic sex chromosome inactivation, an epigenetic process that leads to the silencing of the X-and Y-chromosomes at the pachytene stage of meiosis. Further, some of these lncRNAs and mRNAs show a strong testis expression pattern suggesting that they may play key roles in spermatogenesis. Lastly, we generated a mouse knockout of one X-linked IncRNA, Tslrn1 (testis-specific long noncoding RNA 1), and found that males carrying a Tslrn1 deletion displayed normal fertility but a significant reduction in spermatozoa. Our findings demonstrate that dysregulation of specific mammalian lncRNAs is a novel mechanism of low sperm count or infertility, thus potentially providing new biomarkers and therapeutic strategies. Summary Sentence Long non-coding RNAs are critical for mammalian spermatogenesis.
Abstract Chemokines play critical roles in the establishment and maintenance of pregnancy in animals. Cysteine-X-cysteine motif chemokine ligand 9 (CXCL9), CXCL10, and CXCL11 are involved in recruiting immune cells by binding to their shared receptor, CXC receptor 3 (CXCR3), in a variety of tissues. This study examined the expression and regulation of chemokines CXCL9, CXCL10, and CXCL11, their receptor CXCR3, and their role at the maternal–conceptus interface in pigs. The endometrium expressed CXCL9, CXCL10, CXCL11, and CXCR3 stage specifically during pregnancy, with the greatest abundance on Day 15 of pregnancy. It was noted that their expression was primarily localized to stromal cells, endothelial cells, or vascular smooth muscle cells in the endometrium. Interferon-γ increased the abundance of CXCL9, CXCL10, CXCL11 mRNAs, but not CXCR3, in endometrial explants. Furthermore, recombinant CXCL9 (rCXCL9), rCXCL10, and rCXCL11 proteins increased migration of cultured peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) in a dose-dependent manner. Recombinant CXCL9 and rCXCL10 caused migration of CD4+, CD8+, CD4+CD8+ T cells, and natural killer (NK) cells, and rCXCL11 increased migration of CD4+ T and NK cells in PBMCs. The present study demonstrated that interferon-γ-induced CXCL9, CXCL10, and CXCL11, and their receptor CXCR3 were expressed in the uterus in stage- and cell-type specific manners and increased the migration of T and NK cells, which showed the greatest endometrial infiltration on Day 15 of pregnancy. These results suggest that CXCL9, CXCL10, and CXCL11 may play an important role in the recruitment of immune cells into the endometrium during the implantation period in pigs. Summary Sentence Chemokines CXCL9, 10, and 11 induced by interferon-gamma of conceptus origin in the endometrium are involved in the recruitment of immune cells at the maternal-conceptus interface in pigs.
Abstract Intraflagellar transport (IFT) is a conserved mechanism essential for the assembly and maintenance of most eukaryotic cilia and flagella. However, IFT25, a component of the IFT complex, is not required for the formation of cilia in somatic tissues. In mice, the gene is highly expressed in the testis, and its expression is upregulated during the final phase when sperm flagella are formed. To investigate the role of IFT25 in sperm flagella formation, the gene was specifically disrupted in male germ cells. All homozygous knockout mice survived to adulthood and did not show any gross abnormalities. However, all homozygous knockout males were completely infertile. Sperm numbers were reduced and these sperm were completely immotile. Multiple morphological abnormalities were observed in sperm, including round heads, short and bent tails, with some tails showing branched flagella and others with frequent abnormal thicknesses, as well as swollen tips of the tail. Transmission electron microscopy revealed that flagellar accessory structures, including the fibrous sheath and outer dense fibers, were disorganized, and most sperm had also lost the “9+2” microtubule structure. In the testis, IFT25 forms a complex with other IFT proteins. In Ift25 knockout testes, IFT27, an IFT25 binding partner, was missing, and IFT20 and IFT81 levels were also reduced. Our findings suggest that IFT25, although not necessary for the formation of cilia in somatic cells, is indispensable for sperm flagellum formation and male fertility in mice.
Uterine fibroids (UFs, AKA leiomyoma) are the most important benign neoplastic threat to women's health, with costs up to hundreds of billions of health care dollars worldwide. Uterine fibroids caused morbidities exert a tremendous health toll, impacting the quality of life of women of all ethnicities, especially women of color. Clinical presentations include heavy vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain, bulk symptoms, subfertility, and obstetric complications. Current management strategies heavily lean toward surgical procedures; nonetheless, the choice of treatment is generally subject to patient's age and her desire to preserve future fertility. Women with UF who desire to maintain future fertility potential face a dilemma because of the limited treatment choices that are currently available to help them achieve that goal. Recently, ulipristal acetate the first of the promising family of oral selective progesterone receptor modulators has been approved for UF treatment in Europe, Canada, and several other countries and is under review for possible approval in the USA. In this review article, we discuss recent advances in the management options against UF with a bend toward oral effective long-term treatment alternatives who are particularly suited for those seeking to preserve their future fertility potential. We also explore the transformative concept of primary and secondary UF prevention using these new anti-UF agents. We envision a remarkable shift in the management of UF in future years from surgical/invasive treatment to orally administrated options; clearly, this potential shift will require additional intense clinical research. Summary Sentence We focus on oral long term anti-UF treatment options which can benefit those seek to preserve future fertility. We explore the transformative concept of primary/secondary UF prevention using these agents. We envision a futuristic shift in the UF management from invasive treatment to oral one.
Metabolic rich and poor conditions are both characterized by elevated free fatty acid levels and have been associated with impaired female fertility. In particular, saturated free fatty acids have a dose-dependent negative impact on oocyte developmental competence, while mono-unsaturated free fatty acids appear less harmful. Cumulus cells seem to protect the oocyte against free fatty acids and the aim of this study was to determine the mechanism behind this protection In particular the role of the enzyme stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD) that converts saturated into mono-unsaturated fatty acids was investigated. SCD gene and protein were abundantly expressed in cumulus cells, but expression was low in oocytes. The level of SCD protein expression in cumulus cells did not change when COCs were exposed to saturated stearic acid during maturation. SCD inhibition in the presence of stearic acid significantly reduced the developmental competence of oocytes and increased the incidence of apoptosis in cumulus cells. The esterified oleic/stearic acid ratio of the neutral lipid fraction in cumulus cells decreased in the presence of SCD inhibitors when COCs were exposed to saturated free fatty acids during maturation, indicating the SCD specific conversion of saturated fatty acids under non-inhibiting conditions. The observation that cumulus cells can desaturate the potentially toxic stearic acid into oleic acid via SCD activity provides a mechanistic insight into how the cumulus cells protect the oocyte against toxicity by saturated fatty acid.
Abstract The goal of sperm is to fertilize the oocyte. To achieve that purpose, it must acquire motility in the epididymis and hyperactivated motility in the female reproductive tract. Motility is only achieved when the sperm presents a fully functional flagellum, is capable of producing energy to fuel the movement, and suffers epididymal maturation and capacitation. Since sperm is a transcriptionally silent cell, motility depends on the activation and/or inhibitions of key signaling pathways. This review describes and discusses the main signaling pathways involved in primary and hyperactivated motility, as well as the bioenergetic mechanisms necessary to produce energy to fuel sperm motility. Although the complete human sperm motility process is far from being fully known, we believe that in the upcoming decades extensive progress will be made. Understanding the signaling pathways behind sperm motility can help pinpoint the cause of male infertility and uncover targets for male contraception. Summary Sentence Sperm motility depends on energy availability, intact flagellum and the crosstalk of several signaling pathways that lead to an increase of tyrosine phosphorylation of key proteins.
The sex identity of fish can be easily manipulated by exogenous hormones. Treatment with 17-methyltestosterone (MT) has been widely used to induce a male fate, but the molecular and cellular processes underlying sex changes induced by MT treatments and the withdrawal of MT are not well studied. In this study, we systematically investigated gonadal histology, gene expression profiles, sex steroid hormone levels, and cellular changes during sex changes induced by MT-feeding and MT-feeding withdrawal in the protogynous orange-spotted grouper, Epinephelus coioides. Based on gonadal histology, we demonstrated that MT-feeding-induced sex reversal can be divided into early and late phases: in the early phase, male and female germ cells coexist, and MT-feeding withdrawal leads to a female fate; in the late phase, only male germ cells are observed, and MT-feeding withdrawal does not reverse the process, leading to a male fate. In both the early and late phases, cytochrome P450 family19 subfamily A member 1 (cyp19a1a) gene expression increased in response to MT-feeding withdrawal. Finally, by tracing doublesex-and Mab-3-related transcription factor 1 (dmrt1)-expressing cells, we found that gonia-like cells in the germinal epithelium might be the major germ cell sources for developing testes during sex reversal. Collectively, our findings provide insights into the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying sex changes induced by exogenous hormones. Summary Sentence We systematically investigated gonadal histology, gene expression profiles, sex steroid hormone levels, and cellular changes during sex changes induced by MT-feeding and MT-feeding withdrawal in the protogynous orange-spotted grouper.
Abstract Infertility and early embryo miscarriage is linked to inadequate endometrial decidualization. Although transcriptional reprogramming is known to drive decidualization in response to progesterone, the key signaling effectors that directly mediate this hormone response are not fully known. This knowledge gap is clinically significant because identifying the early signals that directly mediate progesterone-driven decidualization will address some of the current limitations in diagnosing and therapeutically treating patients at most risk for early pregnancy loss. We recently revealed that the promyelocytic leukemia zinc finger (PLZF) is a direct target of the progesterone receptor and is essential for decidualization of human endometrial stromal cells (hESCs). The purpose of this current work was to identify the genome-wide transcriptional program that is controlled by PLZF during hESC decidualization using an established in vitro hESC culture model, siRNA-mediated knockdown methods, and RNA-sequencing technology followed by bioinformatic analysis and validation. We discovered that PLZF is critical in the regulation of genes that are involved in cellular processes that are essential for the archetypal morphological and functional changes that occur when hESCs transform into epithelioid decidual cells such as proliferation and cell motility. We predict that the transcriptome datasets identified in this study will not only contribute to a broader understanding of PLZF-dependent endometrial decidualization at the molecular level but may advance the development of more effective molecular diagnostics and therapeutics for the clinical management of female infertility and subfertility that is based on a dysfunctional endometrium. Summary Sentence PLZF drives progesterone-dependent transcriptional reprogramming of the human endometrial stromal cells to enable decidualization.