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Cholesterol synthesis is among the oldest metabolic pathways, consisting of the Bloch and Kandutch-Russell branches. Following lanosterol, sterols of both branches are proposed to be dedicated to cholesterol. We challenge this dogma by mathematical modeling and with experimental evidence. It was not possible to explain the sterol profile of testis in cAMP responsive element modulator tau (Crem τ) knockout mice with mathematical models based on textbook pathways of cholesterol synthesis. Our model differs in the inclusion of virtual sterol metabolizing enzymes branching from the pathway. We tested the hypothesis that enzymes from the cytochrome P450 (CYP) superfamily can participate in the catalysis of non-classical reactions. We show that CYP enzymes can metabolize multiple sterols in vitro, establishing novel branching points of cholesterol synthesis. In conclusion, sterols of cholesterol synthesis can be oxidized further to metabolites not dedicated to production of cholesterol. Additionally, CYP7A1, CYP11A1, CYP27A1, and CYP46A1 are parts of a broader cholesterol synthesis network.
Phthalate exposure impairs testis development and function; however, whether phthalates affect nonreproductive functions is not well understood. To investigate this, C57BL/6J mice were fed 1-500 mg di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP) in corn oil, or vehicle only, daily from 4 to 14 days, after which tissues were collected (prepubertal study). Another group was fed 1-500 mg/kg·d DBP from 4 to 21 days and then maintained untreated until 8 weeks for determination of adult consequences of prepubertal exposure. Bones were assessed by microcomputed tomography and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and T by RIA. DBP exposure decreased prepubertal femur length, marrow volume, and mean moment of inertia. Adult animals exposed prepubertally to low DBP doses had lower bone mineral content and bone mineral density and less lean tissue mass than vehicle-treated animals. Altered dynamics of the emerging Leydig population were found in 14-day-old animals fed 100-500 mg/kg·d DBP. Adult mice had variable testicular T and serum T and LH concentrations after prepubertal exposure and a dose-dependent reduction in cytochrome p450, family 11, subfamily A, polypeptide 1. Insulin-like 3 was detected in Sertoli cells of adult mice administered the highest dose of 500 mg/kg·d DBP prepubertally, a finding supported by the induction of insulin-like 3 expression in TM4 cells exposed to 50 μM, but not 5 μM, DBP. We propose that low-dose DBP exposure is detrimental to bone but that normal bone mineral density/bone mineral content after high-dose DBP exposure reflects changes in testicular somatic cells that confer protection to bones. These findings will fuel concerns that low-dose DBP exposure impacts health beyond the reproductive axis.
TCDD (2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, commonly known as dioxin) is a ubiquitous environmental contaminant and known endocrine disruptor. Using a mouse model, we previously found that adult female mice exposed in utero to TCDD (F1 generation) as well as multiple subsequent generations (F2-F4) exhibited reduced fertility and an increased incidence of spontaneous preterm birth. Additional studies revealed that male F1 mice with a similar in utero/developmental TCDD exposure also exhibited diminished fertility and conferred an increased risk of preterm birth to their unexposed mating partners. Herein, we extend these previous observations, reporting that reduced fertility in male F1 mice is linked to testicular inflammation which coincides with apoptosis of developing spermatocytes, sub-fertility and an increased risk of preterm birth in their unexposed mating partners. Significantly, in the absence of additional toxicant exposure, testicular inflammation and reduced fertility persisted in F2 and F3 males and their control mating partners also frequently exhibited spontaneous preterm birth. Although a steady, global decline in male fertility has been noted over the last few decades, the reasons for these changes have not been firmly established. Likewise, the PTB rate in the U.S. and other countries has paralleled industrial development, suggesting a possible relationship between environmental toxicant exposure and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Most current clinical strategies to prevent preterm birth are focused solely on the mother and have yielded limited benefits. In contrast, our studies strongly suggest that the preconception testicular health of the father is a critical determinant of pregnancy outcomes in mice. Future clinical studies should examine the potential contribution of the male to gestation length in women and whether efforts to reduce the incidence of preterm birth should be initiated in both parents prior to pregnancy.
Insects, such as the malaria vector mosquito, Anopheles gambiae, depend upon chemoreceptors to respond to volatiles emitted from a range of environmental sources, most notably blood meal hosts and oviposition sites. A subset of peripheral signaling pathways involved in these insect chemosensory-dependent behaviors requires the activity of heteromeric odorant receptor (OR) ion channel complexes and ligands for numerous A. gambiae ORs (AgOrs) have been identified. Although AgOrs are expressed in nonhead appendages, studies characterizing potential AgOr function in nonolfactory tissues have not been conducted. In the present study, we explore the possibility that AgOrs mediate responses of spermatozoa to endogenous signaling molecules in A. gambiae. In addition to finding AgOr transcript expression in testes, we show that the OR coreceptor, AgOrco, is localized to the flagella of A. gambiae spermatozoa where Orco-specific agonists, antagonists, and other odorant ligands robustly activate flagella beating in an Orco-dependent process. We also demonstrate Orco expression and Orco-mediated activation of spermatozoa in the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti. Moreover, we find Orco localization in testes across distinct insect taxa and posit that OR-mediated responses in spermatozoa may represent a general characteristic of insect reproduction and an example of convergent evolution.
Dsk5 mice have a gain of function in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), caused by a point mutation in the kinase domain. We analyzed the effect of this mutation on liver size, histology, and composition. We found that the livers of 12-wk-old male Dsk5 heterozygotes (+/Dsk5) were 62% heavier compared with those of wild-type controls (+/+). The livers of the +/Dsk5 mice compared with +/+ mice had larger hepatocytes with prominent, polyploid nuclei and showed modestly increased cell proliferation indices in both hepatocytes and nonparenchymal cells. An analysis of total protein, DNA, and RNA (expressed relative to liver weight) revealed no differences between the mutant and wild-type mice. However, the livers of the +/Dsk5 mice had more cholesterol but less phospholipid and fatty acid. Circulating cholesterol levels were twice as high in adult male +/Dsk5 mice but not in postweaned young male or female mice. The elevated total plasma cholesterol resulted mainly from an increase in low-density lipoprotein (LDL). The +/Dsk5 adult mouse liver expressed markedly reduced protein levels of LDL receptor, no change in proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9, and a markedly increased fatty acid synthase and 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-CoA reductase. Increased expression of transcription factors associated with enhanced cholesterol synthesis was also observed. Together, these findings suggest that the EGFR may play a regulatory role in hepatocyte proliferation and lipid metabolism in adult male mice, explaining why elevated levels of EGF or EGF-like peptides have been positively correlated to increased cholesterol levels in human studies.
We previously showed that asunder (asun) is a critical regulator of dynein localization during Drosophila spermatogenesis. Because the expression of asun is much higher in Drosophila ovaries and early embryos than in testes, we herein sought to determine whether ASUN plays roles in oogenesis and/or embryogenesis. We characterized the female germline phenotypes of flies homozygous for a null allele of asun (asun(d93)). We find that asun(d93) females lay very few eggs and contain smaller ovaries with a highly disorganized arrangement of ovarioles in comparison to wild-type females. asun(d93) ovaries also contain a significant number of egg chambers with structural defects. A majority of the eggs laid by asun(d93) females are ventralized to varying degrees, from mild to severe; this ventralization phenotype may be secondary to defective localization of gurken transcripts, a dynein-regulated step, within asun(d93) oocytes. We find that dynein localization is aberrant in asun(d93) oocytes, indicating that ASUN is required for this process in both male and female germ cells. In addition to the loss of gurken mRNA localization, asun(d93) ovaries exhibit defects in other dynein-mediated processes such as migration of nurse cell centrosomes into the oocyte during the early mitotic divisions, maintenance of the oocyte nucleus in the anterior-dorsal region of the oocyte in late-stage egg chambers, and coupling between the oocyte nucleus and centrosomes. Taken together, our data indicate that asun is a critical regulator of dynein localization and dynein-mediated processes during Drosophila oogenesis.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
PURPOSE - Effective and organ specific doses of ionizing radiation during videourodynamics are unknown. We estimated radiation exposure in children undergoing videourodynamics, and identified patient and examination factors that contribute to higher dosing.
MATERIALS AND METHODS - Fluoroscopy data were collected from consecutive patients undergoing videourodynamics. Documented dose metrics were used to calculate entrance skin dose after applying a series of correction factors. Effective doses and organ specific doses (ovaries/testes) were estimated from entrance skin dose using Monte Carlo methods on a mathematical anthropomorphic phantom (ages 0, 1, 5, 10 and 15 years). Regression analysis was performed to determine patient and procedural factors associated with higher dosing.
RESULTS - A total of 100 children (45% male, mean ± SD age 9.3 ± 5.7 years) were studied. Diagnoses included neurogenic bladder (73%), anatomical abnormality (14%) and functional/nonneurogenic disorder (13%). Mean fluoroscopy time was 0.17 ± 0.12 minutes. Mean age adjusted entrance skin dose, effective dose, and testis and ovary doses were 2.18 ± 2.00 mGy, 0.07 ± 0.05 mSv, 0.09 ± 0.10 mGy and 0.20 ± 0.13 mGy, respectively. On univariate analysis age, height, weight, body mass index, bladder capacity and fluoroscopy time were associated with effective dose. On multivariate adjusted analysis, body mass index, bladder capacity and fluoroscopy time were independently associated with effective dose.
CONCLUSIONS - The average effective dose of ionizing radiation from videourodynamics was less compared to voiding cystourethrogram dose reported in the literature. Greater fluoroscopy time, body mass index and bladder capacity are independently associated with higher dosing.
Copyright © 2013 American Urological Association Education and Research, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Temporal coordination of meiosis with spermatid morphogenesis is crucial for successful generation of mature sperm cells. We identified a recessive male sterile Drosophila melanogaster mutant, mitoshell, in which events of spermatid morphogenesis are initiated too early, before meiotic onset. Premature mitochondrial aggregation and fusion lead to an aberrant mitochondrial shell around premeiotic nuclei. Despite successful meiotic karyokinesis, improper mitochondrial localization in mitoshell testes is associated with defective astral central spindles and a lack of contractile rings, leading to meiotic cytokinesis failure. We mapped and cloned the mitoshell gene and found that it encodes a novel protein with a bromodomain-related region. It is conserved in some insect lineages. Bromodomains typically bind to histone acetyl-lysine residues and therefore are often associated with chromatin. The Mitoshell bromodomain-related region is predicted to have an alpha helical structure similar to that of bromodomains, but not all the crucial residues in the ligand-binding loops are conserved. We speculate that Mitoshell may participate in transcriptional regulation of spermatogenesis-specific genes, though perhaps with different ligand specificity compared to traditional bromodomains.
Fragile X syndrome (FXS), resulting solely from the loss of function of the human fragile X mental retardation 1 (hFMR1) gene, is the most common heritable cause of mental retardation and autism disorders, with syndromic defects also in non-neuronal tissues. In addition, the human genome encodes two closely related hFMR1 paralogs: hFXR1 and hFXR2. The Drosophila genome, by contrast, encodes a single dFMR1 gene with close sequence homology to all three human genes. Drosophila that lack the dFMR1 gene (dfmr1 null mutants) recapitulate FXS-associated molecular, cellular and behavioral phenotypes, suggesting that FMR1 function has been conserved, albeit with specific functions possibly sub-served by the expanded human gene family. To test evolutionary conservation, we used tissue-targeted transgenic expression of all three human genes in the Drosophila disease model to investigate function at (1) molecular, (2) neuronal and (3) non-neuronal levels. In neurons, dfmr1 null mutants exhibit elevated protein levels that alter the central brain and neuromuscular junction (NMJ) synaptic architecture, including an increase in synapse area, branching and bouton numbers. Importantly, hFMR1 can, comparably to dFMR1, fully rescue both the molecular and cellular defects in neurons, whereas hFXR1 and hFXR2 provide absolutely no rescue. For non-neuronal requirements, we assayed male fecundity and testes function. dfmr1 null mutants are effectively sterile owing to disruption of the 9+2 microtubule organization in the sperm tail. Importantly, all three human genes fully and equally rescue mutant fecundity and spermatogenesis defects. These results indicate that FMR1 gene function is evolutionarily conserved in neural mechanisms and cannot be compensated by either FXR1 or FXR2, but that all three proteins can substitute for each other in non-neuronal requirements. We conclude that FMR1 has a neural-specific function that is distinct from its paralogs, and that the unique FMR1 function is responsible for regulating neuronal protein expression and synaptic connectivity.
A Disintegrin And Metalloprotease (ADAM) family members expressed in male reproductive tissues are divided phylogenetically into three major groups. In the present study, we analyzed six ADAMs in one of the groups (ADAMs 4, 6, 24, 26, 29, and 30) of which function is largely unknown. Our results showed that most of the ADAMs undergo unique processing during sperm maturation and are located at the surface of sperm head. We found that the levels of ADAM4 and ADAM6 are dramatically reduced in Adam2 and Adam3 knockout sperm defective in various fertilization processes. We observed premature processing of ADAM4 in the Adam3-null mice. Furthermore, we obtained a result showing complex formation of ADAM6 with ADAM2 and ADAM3 in testis. Taken together, these results disclose involvement of ADAM4 and ADAM6 in a reproductive ADAM system that functions in fertilization.