Publications by authors named "Ibrahim M Adham"

39 Publications

Perturbed differentiation of murine embryonic stem cells upon Pelota deletion due to dysregulated FOXO1/β-catenin signaling.

FEBS J 2020 Nov 27. Epub 2020 Nov 27.

Institute of Human Genetics, University Medical Centre, Göttingen, Germany.

Differentiation of the embryonic stem cells (ESCs) is regulated by a variety of different signaling pathways. Genetic depletion of murine Pelota gene (Pelo) leads to early embryonic lethality. Here, we aimed at determining the embryonic stage and deciphering the dysregulated signaling pathways affected upon Pelo deletion. We found that development of PELO-null embryos is perturbed between the embryonic day E4.5 and E5.5, at which first differentiation process of ESCs takes place. Molecular analysis revealed enhanced activity of phosphoinositide 3-kinase-protein kinase B/ AKT (PI3K-PKB/AKT) signaling, but nuclear accumulation of forkhead box O1 (FOXO1), and upregulation of the pluripotency-related gene, Oct4, in mutant ESCs cultured under differentiation condition. Despite increased levels of nuclear β-catenin in PELO-null ESCs as a result of decreased activity of glycogen synthase kinase-3β, the activity of the canonical Wingless (Wnt)/β-catenin/T cell factor (TCF) was significantly attenuated as judged by the promoter reporter assay, downregulated Wnt/β-catenin target genes, and impaired cell proliferation. Interestingly, we demonstrated an increased binding of β-catenin to FOXO1 in PELO-mutant ESCs cultured under differentiation condition that could explain, on one side, the nuclear accumulation of FOXO1 protein and hence persistent pluripotency of PELO-mutant ESCs, and on the other side, the dysregulated transcriptional activity of β-catenin/TCF and therefore attenuated PELO-null ESCs self-renewal. Taken together, our results strongly suggest that PELO deletion averts ESCs differentiation through promoting FOXO1/β-catenin binding with subsequent dysregulation of FOXO1 and canonical β-catenin/TCF signaling pathways.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/febs.15643DOI Listing
November 2020

Relaxin Family Member Insulin-Like Peptide 6 Ameliorates Cardiac Fibrosis and Prevents Cardiac Remodeling in Murine Heart Failure Models.

J Am Heart Assoc 2018 06 10;7(12). Epub 2018 Jun 10.

Molecular Cardiology, Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA

Background: The insulin/insulin-like growth factor/relaxin family represents a group of structurally related but functionally diverse proteins. The family member relaxin-2 has been evaluated in clinical trials for its efficacy in the treatment of acute heart failure. In this study, we assessed the role of insulin-like peptide 6 (INSL6), another member of this protein family, in murine heart failure models using genetic loss-of-function and protein delivery methods.

Methods And Results: Insl6-deficient and wild-type (C57BL/6N) mice were administered angiotensin II or isoproterenol via continuous infusion with an osmotic pump or via intraperitoneal injection once a day, respectively, for 2 weeks. In both models, Insl6-knockout mice exhibited greater cardiac systolic dysfunction and left ventricular dilatation. Cardiac dysfunction in the Insl6-knockout mice was associated with more extensive cardiac fibrosis and greater expression of fibrosis-associated genes. The continuous infusion of chemically synthesized INSL6 significantly attenuated left ventricular systolic dysfunction and cardiac fibrosis induced by isoproterenol infusion. Gene expression profiling suggests liver X receptor/retinoid X receptor signaling is activated in the isoproterenol-challenged hearts treated with INSL6 protein.

Conclusions: Endogenous Insl6 protein inhibits cardiac systolic dysfunction and cardiac fibrosis in angiotensin II- and isoproterenol-induced cardiac stress models. The administration of recombinant INSL6 protein could have utility for the treatment of heart failure and cardiac fibrosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.117.008441DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6220528PMC
June 2018

Ultra-structure of the sperm head-to-tail linkage complex in the absence of the spermatid-specific LINC component SPAG4.

Histochem Cell Biol 2018 Jul 16;150(1):49-59. Epub 2018 Apr 16.

Department of Developmental Biology, Johann-Friedrich-Blumenbach-Institute of Zoology and Anthropology, GZMB, Ernst-Caspari-Haus, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Justus-von-Liebig-Weg 11, Göttingen, Germany.

Tight connection between sperm head and tail is crucial for the transport of the male genome and fertilization. The linkage complex, the sperm head-to-tail coupling apparatus (HTCA), originates from the centrosome and anchors to the nuclear membrane. In contrast to its ultra-structural organization, which is already well known for decades, its protein composition largely still awaits future deciphering. SUN-domain proteins are essential components of a complex that links the cytoskeleton to the peripheral nucleoskeleton, which is the nuclear lamina. Here, we studied the impact of the SUN protein SPAG4/SUN4 on the formation of the HTCA. SPAG4/SUN4 is specifically expressed in haploid male germ cells showing a polarized distribution towards the posterior pole in late spermatids that corresponds to the tail attachment site. SPAG4-deficient male mice are infertile with compromised manchette formation and malformed sperm heads. Nonetheless, sperm tails are present demonstrating dispensability of a proper manchette for their formation. Ultra-structural analyses revealed that the development of the sperm head-to-tail linkage complex in the absence of SPAG4 resembles that in the wild type. However, in SPAG4-deficient sperm, the attachment site is diminished with obvious lateral detachment of the HTCA from the nucleus. Our results thus indicate that SPAG4, albeit not essential for the formation of the HTCA per se, is, nevertheless, required for tightening the sperm head-to-tail anchorage by provoking the correct attachment of the lateral parts of the basal plate to the implantation fossa.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00418-018-1668-7DOI Listing
July 2018

An evolutionarily conserved ribosome-rescue pathway maintains epidermal homeostasis.

Nature 2018 04 11;556(7701):376-380. Epub 2018 Apr 11.

Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine, King's College London, London, UK.

Ribosome-associated mRNA quality control mechanisms ensure the fidelity of protein translation. Although these mechanisms have been extensively studied in yeast, little is known about their role in mammalian tissues, despite emerging evidence that stem cell fate is controlled by translational mechanisms. One evolutionarily conserved component of the quality control machinery, Dom34 (in higher eukaryotes known as Pelota (Pelo)), rescues stalled ribosomes . Here we show that Pelo is required for mammalian epidermal homeostasis. Conditional deletion of Pelo in mouse epidermal stem cells that express Lrig1 results in hyperproliferation and abnormal differentiation of these cells. By contrast, deletion of Pelo in Lgr5-expressing stem cells has no effect and deletion in Lgr6-expressing stem cells induces only a mild phenotype. Loss of Pelo results in accumulation of short ribosome footprints and global upregulation of translation, rather than affecting the expression of specific genes. Translational inhibition by rapamycin-mediated downregulation of mTOR (mechanistic target of rapamycin kinase) rescues the epidermal phenotype. Our study reveals that the ribosome-rescue machinery is important for mammalian tissue homeostasis and that it has specific effects on different stem cell populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-018-0032-3DOI Listing
April 2018

Pelota Regulates Epidermal Differentiation by Modulating BMP and PI3K/AKT Signaling Pathways.

J Invest Dermatol 2016 08 7;136(8):1664-1671. Epub 2016 May 7.

Institute of Human Genetics, University of Göttingen, D-37073 Göttingen, Germany. Electronic address:

The depletion of evolutionarily conserved pelota protein causes impaired differentiation of embryonic and spermatogonial stem cells. In this study, we show that temporal deletion of pelota protein before epidermal barrier acquisition leads to neonatal lethality due to perturbations in permeability barrier formation. Further analysis indicated that this phenotype is a result of failed processing of profilaggrin into filaggrin monomers, which promotes the formation of a protective epidermal layer. Molecular analyses showed that pelota protein negatively regulates the activities of bone morphogenetic protein and phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (AKT) signaling pathways in the epidermis. To address whether elevated activities of bone morphogenetic protein and PI3K/AKT signaling pathways were the cause for the perturbed epidermal barrier in Pelo-deficient mice, we made use of organotypic cultures of skin explants from control and mutant embryos at embryonic day 15.5. Inhibition of PI3K/AKT signaling did not significantly affect the bone morphogenetic protein activity. However, inhibition of bone morphogenetic protein signaling caused a significant attenuation of PI3K/AKT activity in mutant skin and, more interestingly, the restoration of profilaggrin processing and normal epidermal barrier function. Therefore, increased activity of the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway in Pelo-deficient skin might conflict with the dephosphorylation of profilaggrin and thereby affect its proper processing into filaggrin monomers and ultimately the epidermal differentiation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jid.2016.04.020DOI Listing
August 2016

Pelota mediates gonocyte maturation and maintenance of spermatogonial stem cells in mouse testes.

Reproduction 2015 Mar 2;149(3):213-21. Epub 2014 Dec 2.

Institute of Human GeneticsUniversity Medical Center of Göttingen, Heinrich-Düker-Weg 12, 37073 Göttingen, Germany

Pelota (Pelo) is an evolutionarily conserved gene, and its deficiency in Drosophila affects both male and female fertility. In mice, genetic ablation of Pelo leads to embryonic lethality at the early implantation stage as a result of the impaired development of extra-embryonic endoderm (ExEn). To define the consequences of Pelo deletion on male germ cells, we temporally induced deletion of the gene at both embryonic and postnatal stages. Deletion of Pelo in adult mice resulted in a complete loss of whole-germ cell lineages after 45 days of deletion. The absence of newly emerging spermatogenic cycles in mutants confirmed that spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) were unable to maintain spermatogenesis in the absence of PELO protein. However, germ cells beyond the undifferentiated SSC stage were capable of completing spermatogenesis and producing spermatozoa, even in the absence of PELO. Following the deletion of Pelo during embryonic development, we found that although PELO is dispensable for maintaining gonocytes, it is necessary for the transition of gonocytes to SSCs. Immunohistological and protein analyses revealed the attenuation of FOXO1 transcriptional activity, which induces the expression of many SSC self-renewal genes. The decreased transcriptional activity of FOXO1 in mutant testes was due to enhanced activity of the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway, which led to phosphorylation and cytoplasmic sequestration of FOXO1. These results suggest that PELO negatively regulates the PI3K/AKT pathway and that the enhanced activity of PI3K/AKT and subsequent FOXO1 inhibition are responsible for the impaired development of SSCs in mutant testes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1530/REP-14-0391DOI Listing
March 2015

Plasma concentrations of afamin are associated with the prevalence and development of metabolic syndrome.

Circ Cardiovasc Genet 2014 Dec 31;7(6):822-9. Epub 2014 Aug 31.

From the Division of Genetic Epidemiology (F.K., B.K., C.L., D.D., H.D.), Division of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, Department of Medical Genetics, Molecular, and Clinical Pharmacology (G.W.), Department of Neurology (S.K., J.W.), Department of Internal Medicine I (A.M.), Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria; First Department of Internal Medicine, Paracelsus Private Medical University, Salzburg, Austria (L.K., B.P.); Institute of Epidemiology II, Helmholtz Zentrum München-German Research Center for Environmental Health, Oberschleißheim, Germany (C.M., C.H., B.T., A.P.); German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD), Neuherberg, Germany (C.M., C.H., B.T., A.P.); Institute of Human Genetics, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany (M.E.A. I.M.A.); Department of Laboratory Medicine, Bruneck Hospital, Bruneck, Italy (P.S.); Institute of Biometrics and Epidemiology, German Diabetes Center, Leibniz Center for Diabetes Research at Heinrich Heine, University Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany (W.R.); Department of Internal Medicine II-Cardiology, University of Ulm Medical Center, Ulm, Germany (W.K.); and Vitateq Biotechnology GmbH, Innsbruck, Austria (H.D.).

Background: Afamin is a human plasma vitamin E-binding glycoprotein primarily expressed in the liver and secreted into the bloodstream. Because little is known about (patho)-physiological functions of afamin, we decided to identify phenotypes associated with afamin by investigating transgenic mice overexpressing the human afamin gene and performing large-scale human epidemiological studies.

Methods And Results: Transgenic mice overexpressing afamin revealed increased body weight and serum concentrations of lipids and glucose. We applied a random-effects meta-analysis using age- and sex-adjusted baseline and follow-up investigations in the population-based Bruneck (n=826), Salzburg Atherosclerosis Prevention Program in Subjects at High Individual Risk (SAPHIR; n=1499), and KOoperative Gesundheitsforschung in der Region Augsburg (KORA) F4 studies (n=3060). Mean afamin concentrations were 62.5±15.3, 66.2±14.3, and 70.6±17.2 mg/L in Bruneck, SAPHIR, and KORA F4, respectively. Per 10 mg/L increment in afamin measured at baseline, the number of metabolic syndrome components increased by 19% (incidence rate ratio=1.19; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.16-1.21; P=5.62×10(-64)). With the same afamin increment used at baseline, we observed an 8% gain in metabolic syndrome components between baseline and follow-up (incidence rate ratio=1.08; 95% CI, 1.06-1.10; P=8.87×10(-16)). Afamin concentrations at baseline were highly significantly related to all individual metabolic syndrome components at baseline and at follow-up. This observation was most pronounced for elevated waist circumference (odds ratio, 1.79; 95% CI, 1.54-2.09; P=4.15×10(-14) at baseline and odds ratio, 1.46; 95% CI, 1.31-1.63; P=2.84×10(-11) for change during follow-up) and for elevated fasting glucose concentrations (odds ratio, 1.46; 95% CI, 1.40-1.52; P=1.87×10(-69) and odds ratio, 1.46; 95% CI, 1.24-1.71; P=5.13×10(-6), respectively).

Conclusions: This study in transgenic mice and >5000 participants in epidemiological studies shows that afamin is strongly associated with the prevalence and development of metabolic syndrome and all its components.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCGENETICS.113.000654DOI Listing
December 2014

The injury-induced myokine insulin-like 6 is protective in experimental autoimmune myositis.

Skelet Muscle 2014 4;4:16. Epub 2014 Aug 4.

Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute, Boston University School of Medicine, 715 Albany Street, W611, Boston, MA 02118, USA.

Background: The idiopathic inflammatory myopathies represent a group of autoimmune diseases that are characterized by lymphocyte infiltration of muscle and muscle weakness. Insulin-like 6 (Insl6) is a poorly characterized member of the insulin-like/relaxin family of secreted proteins, whose expression is upregulated upon acute muscle injury.

Methods: In this study, we employed Insl6 gain or loss of function mice to investigate the role of Insl6 in a T cell-mediated model of experimental autoimmune myositis (EAM). EAM models in rodents have involved immunization with human myosin-binding protein C with complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA) emulsions and pertussis toxin.

Results: Insl6-deficiency in mice led to a worsened myositis phenotype including increased infiltration of CD4 and CD8 T cells and the elevated expression of inflammatory cytokines. Insl6-deficient mice show significant motor function impairment when tested with treadmill or Rotarod devices. Conversely, muscle-specific overexpression of Insl6 protected against the development of myositis as indicated by reduced lymphocyte infiltration in muscle, diminished inflammatory cytokine expression and improved motor function. The improvement in myositis by Insl6 could also be demonstrated by acute hydrodynamic delivery of a plasmid encoding murine Insl6. In cultured cells, Insl6 inhibits Jurkat cell proliferation and activation in response to phytohemagglutinin/phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate stimulation. Insl6 transcript expression in muscle was reduced in a cohort of dermatomyositis and polymyositis patients.

Conclusions: These data suggest that Insl6 may have utility for the treatment of myositis, a condition for which few treatment options exist.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/2044-5040-4-16DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4144317PMC
August 2014

Pelota regulates the development of extraembryonic endoderm through activation of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling.

Stem Cell Res 2014 Jul 26;13(1):61-74. Epub 2014 Apr 26.

Institute of Human Genetics, University of Göttingen, D-37073 Göttingen, Germany. Electronic address:

Pelota (Pelo) is ubiquitously expressed, and its genetic deletion in mice leads to embryonic lethality at an early post-implantation stage. In the present study, we conditionally deleted Pelo and showed that PELO deficiency did not markedly affect the self-renewal of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) or their capacity to differentiate in teratoma assays. However, their differentiation into extraembryonic endoderm (ExEn) in embryoid bodies (EBs) was severely compromised. Conversely, forced expression of Pelo in ESCs resulted in spontaneous differentiation toward the ExEn lineage. Failure of Pelo-deficient ESCs to differentiate into ExEn was accompanied by the retained expression of pluripotency-related genes and alterations in expression of components of the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling pathway. Further experiments have also revealed that attenuated activity of BMP signaling is responsible for the impaired development of ExEn. The recovery of ExEn and down-regulation of pluripotent genes in BMP4-treated Pelo-null EBs indicate that the failure of mutant cells to down-regulate pluripotency-related genes in EBs is not a result of autonomous defect, but rather to failed signals from surrounding ExEn lineage that induce the differentiation program. In vivo studies showed the presence of ExEn in Pelo-null embryos at E6.5, yet embryonic lethality at E7.5, suggesting that PELO is not required for the induction of ExEn development, but rather for ExEn maintenance or for terminal differentiation toward functional visceral endoderm which provides the embryos with growth factors required for further development. Moreover, Pelo-null fibroblasts failed to reprogram toward induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) due to inactivation of BMP signaling and impaired mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition. Thus, our results indicate that PELO plays an important role in the establishment of pluripotency and differentiation of ESCs into ExEn lineage through activation of BMP signaling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scr.2014.04.011DOI Listing
July 2014

Respiratory distress and early neonatal lethality in Hspa4l/Hspa4 double-mutant mice.

Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol 2014 Apr;50(4):817-24

1 Institute of Human Genetics, and.

Heat shock proteins HSPA4L and HSPA4 are closely related members of the HSP110 family and act as cochaperones. We generated Hspa4l(-/-)Hspa4(-/-) mice to investigate a functional complementarity between HSPA4L and HSPA4 during embryonic development. Hspa4l(-/-)Hspa4(-/-) embryos exhibited marked pulmonary hypoplasia and neonatal death. Compared with lungs of wild-type, Hspa4l(-/-), and Hspa4(-/-) embryos, Hspa4l(-/-)Hspa4(-/-) lungs were characterized by diminished saccular spaces and increased mesenchymal septa. Mesenchymal hypercellularity was determined to be due to an increased cell proliferation index and decreased cell death. A significant increase in expression levels of prosurvival protein B cell leukemia/lymphoma 2 may be the cause for inhibition of apoptotic process in lungs of Hspa4(-/-)Hspa4l(-/-) embryos. Accumulation of glycogen and diminished expression of surfactant protein B, prosurfactant protein C, and aquaporin 5 in saccular epithelium suggested impaired maturation of type II and type I pneumocytes in the Hspa4l(-/-)Hspa4(-/-) lungs. Further experiments showed a significant accumulation of ubiquitinated proteins in the lungs of Hspa4l(-/-)Hspa4(-/-) embryos, indicating an impaired chaperone activity. Our study demonstrates that HSPA4L and HSPA4 collaborate in embryonic lung maturation, which is necessary for adaptation to air breathing at birth.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1165/rcmb.2013-0132OCDOI Listing
April 2014

Mena/VASP and αII-Spectrin complexes regulate cytoplasmic actin networks in cardiomyocytes and protect from conduction abnormalities and dilated cardiomyopathy.

Cell Commun Signal 2013 Aug 12;11:56. Epub 2013 Aug 12.

Institute of Physiology I, University of Würzburg, D-97070 Würzburg, Germany.

Background: In the heart, cytoplasmic actin networks are thought to have important roles in mechanical support, myofibrillogenesis, and ion channel function. However, subcellular localization of cytoplasmic actin isoforms and proteins involved in the modulation of the cytoplasmic actin networks are elusive. Mena and VASP are important regulators of actin dynamics. Due to the lethal phenotype of mice with combined deficiency in Mena and VASP, however, distinct cardiac roles of the proteins remain speculative. In the present study, we analyzed the physiological functions of Mena and VASP in the heart and also investigated the role of the proteins in the organization of cytoplasmic actin networks.

Results: We generated a mouse model, which simultaneously lacks Mena and VASP in the heart. Mena/VASP double-deficiency induced dilated cardiomyopathy and conduction abnormalities. In wild-type mice, Mena and VASP specifically interacted with a distinct αII-Spectrin splice variant (SH3i), which is in cardiomyocytes exclusively localized at Z- and intercalated discs. At Z- and intercalated discs, Mena and β-actin localized to the edges of the sarcomeres, where the thin filaments are anchored. In Mena/VASP double-deficient mice, β-actin networks were disrupted and the integrity of Z- and intercalated discs was markedly impaired.

Conclusions: Together, our data suggest that Mena, VASP, and αII-Spectrin assemble cardiac multi-protein complexes, which regulate cytoplasmic actin networks. Conversely, Mena/VASP deficiency results in disrupted β-actin assembly, Z- and intercalated disc malformation, and induces dilated cardiomyopathy and conduction abnormalities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1478-811X-11-56DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3751641PMC
August 2013

Embryo implantation failure and other reproductive defects in Ube2q1-deficient female mice.

Reproduction 2013 Jan 8;145(1):45-56. Epub 2013 Jan 8.

Institute of Human Genetics, University of Göttingen, Heinrich Düker Weg 12, 37073 Göttingen, Germany.

The ubiquitination process is indispensable for proteome regulation. Three classes of ubiquitin (Ub)-related proteins can be distinguished: E1, E2 and E3. Proteins from the E2 class are responsible for the transfer of Ubls from E1 to the target protein. For this activity, interaction with class E3 ligases is usually required. Ub-conjugating enzyme E2Q 1 (UBE2Q1) belongs to the E2 class of Ub-related enzymes and is demonstrated to be involved in the regulation of membrane B4GALT1 protein. Here, we demonstrate that human UBE2Q1 and mouse Ube2q1 are widely expressed and highly conserved genes. To elucidate the function of UBE2Q1 protein, we generated knockout mouse model. No overt phenotype was detected in UBE2Q1-deficient males, but in mutant females, pleiotropic reproductive defects were observed including altered oestrus cycle, abnormal sexual behaviour and reduced offspring care. Moreover, in the uterus of mutant females, significantly increased embryonic lethality and decreased implantation capacity of homozygous mutant embryos were noticed. We found that Ube2q1 is not expressed in the uterus of non-pregnant females but its expression is up-regulated during pregnancy. Taken together, Ube2q1 is involved in different aspects of female fertility.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1530/REP-12-0054DOI Listing
January 2013

Targeted disruption of Hspa4 gene leads to cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis.

J Mol Cell Cardiol 2012 Oct 1;53(4):459-68. Epub 2012 Aug 1.

Institute of Human Genetics, University of Göttingen, Germany.

Failure of molecular chaperones to direct the correct folding of newly synthesized proteins leads to the accumulation of misfolded proteins in cells. HSPA4 is a member of the heat shock protein 110 family (HSP110) that acts as a nucleotide exchange factor of HSP70 chaperones. We found that the expression of HSPA4 is upregulated in murine hearts subjected to pressure overload and in failing human hearts. To investigate the cardiac function of HSPA4, Hspa4 knockout (KO) mice were generated and exhibited cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis. Hspa4 KO hearts were characterized by a significant increase in heart weight/body weight ratio, elevated expression of hypertrophic and fibrotic gene markers, and concentric hypertrophy with preserved contractile function. In response to pressure overload, cardiac hypertrophy and remodeling were further aggravated in the Hspa4 KO compared to wild type (WT) mice. Cardiac hypertrophy in Hspa4 KO hearts was associated with enhanced activation of gp130-STAT3, CaMKII, and calcineurin-NFAT signaling. Protein blot and immunofluorescent analyses showed a significant accumulation of polyubiquitinated proteins in cardiac cells of Hspa4 KO mice. These results suggest that the myocardial remodeling of Hspa4 KO mice is due to accumulation of misfolded proteins resulting from impaired chaperone activity. Further analyses revealed a significant increase in cross sectional area of cardiomyocytes, and in expression levels of hypertrophic markers in cultured neonatal Hspa4 KO cardiomyocytes suggesting that the hypertrophy of mutant mice was a result of primary defects in cardiomyocytes. Gene expression profile in hearts of 3.5-week-old mice revealed a differentially expressed gene sets related to ion channels, muscle-specific contractile proteins and stress response. Taken together, our in vivo data demonstrate that Hspa4 gene ablation results in cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis, possibly, through its role in protein quality control mechanism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yjmcc.2012.07.014DOI Listing
October 2012

INSL5-deficient mice display an alteration in glucose homeostasis and an impaired fertility.

Endocrinology 2012 Oct 20;153(10):4655-65. Epub 2012 Jul 20.

Institute of Human Genetics, Heinrich-Düker-Weg 12, D-37073 Göttingen, Germany.

Insulin-like factor 5 (INSL5), a member of the insulin superfamily, is expressed in the colorectum and hypothalamus. To facilitate studies into the role of INSL5, we generated Insl5(-/-) mice by gene targeting. Insl5(-/-) mice were born in the expected Mendelian ratio, reached normal body weight, but displayed impaired male and female fertility that are due to marked reduction in sperm motility and irregular length of the estrous cycle. Furthermore, Insl5(-/-) mice showed impairment in glucose homeostasis with characteristic elevation of serum glucose levels at an advanced age. Glucose and insulin tolerance tests revealed that the increased blood glucose in Insl5(-/-) mice was due to glucose intolerance resulting from reduced insulin secretion. Morphometric and immunohistological analyses revealed that the Insl5(-/-) mice had markedly reduced average islets area and β-cell numbers. Furthermore, immunohistochemistry showed the expression of INSL5 in enteroendocrine cells in the colorectal epithelium and the presence of its putative receptor relaxin family peptide receptor 4 in pancreatic islet cells. These results suggest the potential role of INSL5 signaling in the regulation of insulin secretion and β-cell homeostasis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/en.2012-1161DOI Listing
October 2012

The small heat shock protein ODF1/HSPB10 is essential for tight linkage of sperm head to tail and male fertility in mice.

Mol Cell Biol 2012 Jan 28;32(1):216-25. Epub 2011 Oct 28.

Johann Friedrich Blumenbach Institute of Zoology and Anthropology-Developmental Biology, GZMB, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany.

Sperm motility and hence male fertility strictly depends on proper development of the sperm tail and its tight anchorage to the head. The main protein of sperm tail outer dense fibers, ODF1/HSPB10, belongs to the family of small heat shock proteins that function as molecular chaperones. However, the impact of ODF1 on sperm tail formation and motility and on male fecundity is unknown. We therefore generated mutant mice in which the Odf1 gene was disrupted. Heterozygous mutant male mice are fertile while sperm motility is reduced, but Odf1-deficient male mice are infertile due to the detachment of the sperm head. Although headless tails are somehow motile, transmission electron microscopy revealed disturbed organization of the mitochondrial sheath, as well as of the outer dense fibers. Our results thus suggest that ODF1, besides being involved in the correct arrangement of mitochondrial sheath and outer dense fibers, is essential for rigid junction of sperm head and tail. Loss of function of ODF1, therefore, might account for some of the cases of human infertility with decapitated sperm heads. In addition, since sperm motility is already affected in heterozygous mice, impairment of ODF1 might even account for some cases of reduced fertility in male patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/MCB.06158-11DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3255718PMC
January 2012

Adhesion protein VSIG1 is required for the proper differentiation of glandular gastric epithelia.

PLoS One 2011 4;6(10):e25908. Epub 2011 Oct 4.

Institute of Human Genetics, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany.

VSIG1, a cell adhesion protein of the immunoglobulin superfamily, is preferentially expressed in stomach, testis, and certain gastric, esophageal and ovarian cancers. Here, we describe the expression patterns of three alternatively spliced isoforms of mouse Vsig1 during pre- and postnatal development of stomach and potential function of Vsig1 in differentiation of gastric epithelia. We show that isoforms Vsig1A and Vsig1B, which differ in the 3'untranslated region, are expressed in the early stages of stomach development. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that VSIG1 is restricted to the adherens junction of the glandular epithelium. The shorter transcript Vsig1C is restricted to the testis, encodes an N-terminal truncated protein and is presumably regulated by an internal promoter, which is located upstream of exon 1b. To determine whether the 5' flanking region of exon 1a specifically targets the expression of Vsig1 to stomach epithelia, we generated and analyzed transgenic mice. The 4.8-kb fragment located upstream of exon 1a was sufficient to direct the expression of the reporter gene to the glandular epithelia of transgenic stomach. To determine the role of VSIG1 during the development of stomach epithelia, an X-linked Vsig1 was inactivated in embryonic stem cells (ESCs). Although Vsig1(-/Y) ESCs were only able to generate low coat color chimeric mice, no male chimeras transmitted the targeted allele to their progeny suggesting that the high contribution of Vsig1(-/Y) cells leads to the lethality of chimeric embryos. Analysis of chimeric stomachs revealed the differentiation of VSIG1-null cells into squamous epithelia inside the glandular region. These results suggest that VSIG1 is required for the establishment of glandular versus squamous epithelia in the stomach.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0025908PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3186807PMC
February 2012

Heat-shock protein HSPA4 is required for progression of spermatogenesis.

Reproduction 2011 Jul 12;142(1):133-44. Epub 2011 Apr 12.

Institute of Human Genetics, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany.

Heat-shock protein 110 (HSP110) family members act as nucleotide exchange factors (NEF) of mammalian and yeast HSP70 chaperones during the ATP hydrolysis cycle. In this study, we describe the expression pattern of murine HSPA4, a member of the HSP110 family, during testis development and the consequence of HSPA4 deficiency on male fertility. HSPA4 is ubiquitously expressed in all the examined tissues. During prenatal and postnatal development of gonad, HSPA4 is expressed in both somatic and germ cells; however, expression was much higher in germ cells of prenatal gonads. Analyses of Hspa4-deficient mice revealed that all homozygous mice on the hybrid C57BL/6J×129/Sv genetic background were apparently healthy. Although HSPA4 is expressed as early as E13.5 in male gonad, a lack of histological differences between Hspa4(-/-) and control littermates suggests that Hspa4 deficiency does not impair the gonocytes or their development to spermatogonia. Remarkably, an increased number of the Hspa4-deficient males displayed impaired fertility, whereas females were fertile. The total number of spermatozoa and their motility were drastically reduced in infertile Hspa4-deficient mice compared with wild-type littermates. The majority of pachytene spermatocytes in the juvenile Hspa4(-/-) mice failed to complete the first meiotic prophase and became apoptotic. Furthermore, down-regulation of transcription levels of genes known to be expressed in spermatocytes at late stages of prophase I and post-meiotic spermatids leads to suggest that the development of most spermatogenic cells is arrested at late stages of meiotic prophase I. These results provide evidence that HSPA4 is required for normal spermatogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1530/REP-11-0023DOI Listing
July 2011

Pelota interacts with HAX1, EIF3G and SRPX and the resulting protein complexes are associated with the actin cytoskeleton.

BMC Cell Biol 2010 Apr 20;11:28. Epub 2010 Apr 20.

Institute of Human Genetics, Georg-August-University, Göttingen, Germany.

Background: Pelota (PELO) is an evolutionary conserved protein, which has been reported to be involved in the regulation of cell proliferation and stem cell self-renewal. Recent studies revealed the essential role of PELO in the No-Go mRNA decay, by which mRNA with translational stall are endonucleotically cleaved and degraded. Further, PELO-deficient mice die early during gastrulation due to defects in cell proliferation and/or differentiation.

Results: We show here that PELO is associated with actin microfilaments of mammalian cells. Overexpression of human PELO in Hep2G cells had prominent effect on cell growth, cytoskeleton organization and cell spreading. To find proteins interacting with PELO, full-length human PELO cDNA was used as a bait in a yeast two-hybrid screening assay. Partial sequences of HAX1, EIF3G and SRPX protein were identified as PELO-interacting partners from the screening. The interactions between PELO and HAX1, EIF3G and SRPX were confirmed in vitro by GST pull-down assays and in vivo by co-immunoprecipitation. Furthermore, the PELO interaction domain was mapped to residues 268-385 containing the c-terminal and acidic tail domain. By bimolecular fluorescence complementation assay (BiFC), we found that protein complexes resulting from the interactions between PELO and either HAX1, EIF3G or SRPX were mainly localized to cytoskeletal filaments.

Conclusion: We could show that PELO is subcellularly localized at the actin cytoskeleton, interacts with HAX1, EIF3G and SRPX proteins and that this interaction occurs at the cytoskeleton. Binding of PELO to cytoskeleton-associated proteins may facilitate PELO to detect and degrade aberrant mRNAs, at which the ribosome is stalled during translation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2121-11-28DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2867792PMC
April 2010

Inactivation of insulin-like factor 6 disrupts the progression of spermatogenesis at late meiotic prophase.

Endocrinology 2009 Sep 11;150(9):4348-57. Epub 2009 Jun 11.

Institute of Human Genetics, University of Göttingen, D-37073 Göttingen, Germany.

Insulin-like factor 6 (INSL6), a member of the insulin-like superfamily, is predominantly expressed in male germ cells. Expression of the Insl6 is first detected in mouse testis at postnatal d 15 when the first wave of spermatogenesis progresses to pachytene spermatocytes. To elucidate the role of INSL6 in germ cell development, we generated Insl6-deficient mice. The majority of the Insl6-deficient males on a hybrid genetic background exhibited impaired fertility, whereas females were fertile. The number of mature sperm and sperm motility were drastically reduced in the epididymis. The reduced sperm count could be due to apoptotic death of a significant number of developing germ cells. Analysis of germ cell development during the juvenile life showed an arrest of the first wave of spermatogenesis in late meiotic prophase. RNA analysis revealed a significant decrease in expression of late meiotic- and postmeiotic-specific marker genes, whereas expression of early meiotic-specific genes remains unaffected in the Insl6(-/-) testes. These results demonstrate that INSL6 is required for the progression of spermatogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/en.2009-0201DOI Listing
September 2009

Directed overexpression of insulin in Leydig cells causes a progressive loss of germ cells.

Mol Cell Endocrinol 2008 Nov 23;295(1-2):79-86. Epub 2008 Jul 23.

Institute of Human Genetics, University of Göttingen, Heinrich-Düker-Weg 12, D-37073 Göttingen, Germany.

The primary goal of this study was to determine the 5'region of the Insl3 gene that specifically targets the expression of human insulin to Leydig cells, and to explore whether the testicular proinsulin is efficiently processed to insulin that is able to rescue the diabetes in different mouse models of diabetes. We show here that the sequence between nucleotides -690 and +4 of mouse Insl3 promoter is sufficient to direct the Leydig cell-specific expression of the human insulin transgene (Insl3-hIns). We also found that the 3'untranslated region (3'UTR) of Insl3 was effective in enhancing transgene expression of the insulin in vivo. Expression analysis revealed that the temporal expression pattern of the hIns transgene in Leydig cells of transgenic testes is roughly the same as that of the endogenous Insl3. Despite the Leydig cells translate human proinsulin and secrete a significant level of free C-peptide into the serum, the Leydig cell-derived insulin is not able to overcome the diabetes in different mouse models of diabetes, suggesting a lack of glucose sensing mechanisms in the Leydig cells. A consequence of overexpression of the human proinsulin in Leydig cells was the decrease of fertility of transgenic males at older ages. Germ cells in transgenic males were able to initiate and complete spermatogenesis. However, there was a progressive and age-dependent degeneration of the germ cells that lead to male infertility with increasing age.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mce.2008.07.007DOI Listing
November 2008

Fas-associated factor (FAF1) is required for the early cleavage-stages of mouse embryo.

Mol Hum Reprod 2008 Apr 26;14(4):207-13. Epub 2008 Feb 26.

Institute of Human Genetics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Göttingen, 37073 Göttingen, Germany.

FAF1 was initially isolated as a Fas-associated factor and was subsequently found to interact with a subset of additional proteins that are involved in many cellular events including Fas-mediated apoptosis, heat shock signalling pathways and ubiquitin-dependent processes. Here, we describe that the 74-kDa FAF1 is ubiquitously expressed, while the expression of its post-translational-processed 49-kDa isoform is restricted to post-meiotic male germ cells. In ovary, FAF1 protein is localized predominantly in the cytoplasm of oocytes in all follicle stages. To determine the function of FAF1 in vivo, we analysed a mouse mutant line in which a gene trap vector was inserted in the Faf1 locus. The mutation disrupts the Faf1 and leads to lethality of the Faf1(GT/GT) embryos near the 2-cell stage. Analysis of FAF1 expression revealed that the protein is present in early preimplantation stages, while embryonic expression of Faf1 mRNA becomes appreciable at 4-cell stage. These results indicate that the death of Faf1(GT/GT) at the 2-cell stage may coincide with the depletion of maternal FAF1 in these embryos. Thus, our results indicate that the FAF1 gene product is necessary for early embryonic development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/molehr/gan009DOI Listing
April 2008

Sox15 and Fhl3 transcriptionally coactivate Foxk1 and regulate myogenic progenitor cells.

EMBO J 2007 Apr 15;26(7):1902-12. Epub 2007 Mar 15.

Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75390, USA.

The regulation of myogenic progenitor cells during muscle regeneration is not clearly understood. We have previously shown that the Foxk1 gene, a member of the forkhead/winged helix family of transcription factors, is expressed in myogenic progenitor cells in adult skeletal muscle. In the present study, we utilize transgenic technology and demonstrate that the 4.6 kb upstream fragment of the Foxk1 gene directs beta-galactosidase expression to the myogenic progenitor cell population. We further establish that Sox15 directs Foxk1 expression to the myogenic progenitor cell population, as it binds to an evolutionarily conserved site and recruits Fhl3 to transcriptionally coactivate Foxk1 gene expression. Knockdown of endogenous Sox15 results in perturbed cell cycle kinetics and decreased Foxk1 expression. Furthermore, Sox15 mutant mice display perturbed skeletal muscle regeneration, due in part to decreased numbers of satellite cells and decreased Foxk1 expression. These studies demonstrate that Sox15, Fhl3 and Foxk1 function to coordinately regulate the myogenic progenitor cell population and skeletal muscle regeneration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/sj.emboj.7601635DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1847663PMC
April 2007

Hspa4l-deficient mice display increased incidence of male infertility and hydronephrosis development.

Mol Cell Biol 2006 Nov 21;26(21):8099-108. Epub 2006 Aug 21.

Institute of Human Genetics, University of Göttingen, Germany.

The Hspa4l gene, also known as Apg1 or Osp94, belongs to the HSP110 heat shock gene family, which includes three genes encoding highly conserved proteins. This study shows that Hspa4l is expressed ubiquitously and predominantly in the testis. The protein is highly expressed in spermatogenic cells, from late pachytene spermatocytes to postmeiotic spermatids. In the kidney, the protein is restricted to cortical segments of distal tubules. To study the physiological role of this gene in vivo, we generated mice deficient in Hspa4l by gene targeting. Hspa4l-deficient mice were born at expected ratios and appeared healthy. However, approximately 42% of Hspa4l(-/-) male mice suffered from fertility defects. Whereas the seminiferous tubules of Hspa4l(-/-) testes contained all stages of germ cells, the number of mature sperm in the epididymis and sperm motility were drastically reduced. The reduction of the sperm count was due to the elimination of a significant number of developing germ cells via apoptosis. No defects in fertility were observed in female mutants. In addition, 12% of null mutant mice developed hydronephrosis. Concentrations of plasma and urine electrolytes in Hspa4l(-/-) mice were similar to wild-type values, suggesting that the renal function was not impaired. However, Hspa4l(-/-) animals were preferentially susceptible to osmotic stress. These results provide evidence that Hspa4l is required for normal spermatogenesis and suggest that Hspa4l plays a role in osmotolerance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/MCB.01332-06DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1636758PMC
November 2006

Over expression of insulin-like 3 does not prevent cryptorchidism in GNRHR or HOXA10 deficient mice.

J Urol 2006 Jul;176(1):399-404

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Baylor College of Medicine, 6550 Fannin Street, Houston, TX 77030, USA.

Purpose: Insulin-like 3 hormone is critical for the induction of growth and differentiation of gubernacular ligaments during embryonic testicular descent. Mice with mutation of insulin-like 3 or its receptor show high intra-abdominal cryptorchidism. We tested whether transgenic over expression of Insl3 can reverse inguinoscrotal cryptorchidism in mice deficient in Gnrhr or Hoxa10 genes.

Materials And Methods: Hoxa10 and Gnrhr deficient mice were intercrossed with Insl3 transgenic mice. The phenotype of the mutant mice and expression of the genes involved in testicular descent were analyzed. Using quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction we evaluated expression of the genes in neonatal gubernacular cells on INSL3 (Phoenix Pharmaceuticals, Belmont, California) and testosterone stimulation.

Results: Transgenic over expression of Insl3 failed to restore normal testicular descent in Hoxa10 or Gnrhr deficient males. Histological evaluation did not reveal any differences in Insl3 transgenic gubernacula in either mutant. In mutant females Insl3 over expression resulted in transabdominal descent of the ovaries to the low abdominal position with the subsequent development of inguinal hernia. Expression of androgen receptor, insulin-like 3 receptor and Hoxa10 was not affected after incubation of neonatal gubernacular cells with insulin-like 3 or androgen.

Conclusions: The results suggest that insulin-like 3 is sufficient to direct the first transabdominal phase of testicular descent in the absence of hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis signaling or Hoxa10 but their presence is important for inguinoscrotal testicular descent.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0022-5347(06)00519-2DOI Listing
July 2006

Reduction of spermatogenesis but not fertility in Creb3l4-deficient mice.

Mol Cell Biol 2005 Sep;25(17):7657-64

Institute of Human Genetics, University of Göttingen, Germany.

Creb3l4 belongs to the CREB/ATF family of transcription factors that are involved in mediating transcription in response to intracellular signaling. This study shows that Creb3l4 is expressed at low levels in all organs and in different stages of embryogenesis but is present at very high levels in the testis, particularly in postmeiotic male germ cells. In contrast to CREB3L4 in the human prostate, of which specific expression was detected, Creb3l4 transcripts in the mouse prostate could be detected only by RT-PCR. To identify the physiological function of Creb3l4, the murine gene was inactivated by replacement with the gene encoding green fluorescent protein. Surprisingly, Creb3l4-deficient mice were born at expected ratios, were healthy, and displayed normal long-term survival rates. Despite a significant reduction in the number of spermatozoa in the epididymis of Creb3l4(-)(/)(-) mice, the breeding of mutant males with wild-type females was productive and the average litter size was not significantly altered in comparison to wild-type littermates. Further analyses revealed that the seminiferous tubules of Creb3l4(-)(/)(-) mice contained all of the developmental stages, though there was evidence for increased apoptosis of meiotic/postmeiotic germ cells. These results suggest that Creb3l4 plays a role in male germ cell development, but its loss is insufficient to completely compromise the production of spermatozoa.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/MCB.25.17.7657-7664.2005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1190296PMC
September 2005

Triple knockouts reveal gene interactions affecting fertility of male mice.

Mol Reprod Dev 2005 Apr;70(4):406-16

Institute of Human Genetics, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany.

Triple knockout mice were used to investigate the interactions of five genes that were expressed in meiotic and haploid spermatogenic cells in mice, transition protein 2 (Tnp2), proacrosin (Acr), histone H1.1 (H1.1), histone H1t (H1t), and sperm mitochondria-associated cysteine-rich protein (Smcp). TNP2 functions in the replacement of histones and the initial condensation of the spermatid nucleus. The linker histone subtypes H1.1 and H1t are expressed at high levels in meiotic and early haploid cells. ACR, a protease that is stored as a proenzyme in the acrosome, is activated during the acrosome reaction and functions in binding of sperm to the zona pellucida. SMCP is a structural protein in the outer membranes of sperm mitochondria that functions in motility. Previous work demonstrates that homozygous knockout mice lacking each of these proteins individually exhibit no defect in fertility on mixed genetic backgrounds. In contrast, the present study demonstrates that five triple knockout lines, Acr/H1.1/Smcp, Acr/Tnp2/Smcp, Tnp2/H1.1/Smcp, Acr/H1t/Smcp, Tnp2/H1t/Smcp, exhibit drastic reductions in fertility on mixed genetic backgrounds. Analysis of fertility parameters reveal that the decreased fertility is due to line-dependent defects in sperm motility in vitro correlated with reduced migration in the female reproductive tract, and decreased fertilization due to defects in adhesion of sperm to the zona pellucida, the membrane surrounding the egg. It was also found that triple knockout males, that are hemizygous for one locus and homozygous for two other loci, are as subfertile as homozygous triple knockout males, a phenomenon known as haploinsufficiency. These findings demonstrate that male fertility involves synergistic interactions of genes that function in sperm motility and sperm-egg adhesion during fertilization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mrd.20227DOI Listing
April 2005

Insulin-like 3 signalling in testicular descent.

Int J Androl 2004 Oct;27(5):257-65

Institute of Human Genetics, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany.

Undescended testis is one of the most common congenital defects in the newborn boys and the common cause of cryptorchidism. If left untreated, this condition is strongly associated with infertility and drastically increased risk of testicular cancer in adulthood. Testis position in developing males is defined by sexual dimorphic differentiation of two gonadal ligaments, gubernaculum and cranial suspensory ligament. Recent transgenic mouse studies identified testicular hormone insulin-like 3 (INSL3), and its receptor, GREAT/LGR8, as the critical regulators of the gubernacular differentiation. Mutation analysis of the two genes in patients with undescended testis revealed functionally deleterious mutations, which may be responsible for the abnormal phenotype in some of the patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2605.2004.00481.xDOI Listing
October 2004

Sox15 is required for skeletal muscle regeneration.

Mol Cell Biol 2004 Oct;24(19):8428-36

Institute of Human Genetics, University of Göttingen, Germany.

The Sox genes define a family of transcription factors that play a key role in the determination of cell fate during development. The preferential expression of the Sox15 in the myogenic precursor cells led us to suggest that the Sox15 is involved in the specification of myogenic cell lineages or in the regulation of the fusion of myoblasts to form myotubes during the development and regeneration of skeletal muscle. To identify the physiological function of Sox15 in mice, we disrupted the Sox15 by homologous recombination in mice. Sox15-deficient mice were born at expected ratios, were healthy and fertile, and displayed normal long-term survival rates. Histological analysis revealed the normal ultrastructure of myofibers and the presence of comparable amounts of satellite cells in the skeletal muscles of Sox15(-/-) animals compared to wild-type animals. These results exclude the role of Sox15 in the development of satellite cells. However, cultured Sox15(-/-) myoblasts displayed a marked delay in differentiation potential in vitro. Moreover, skeletal muscle regeneration in Sox15(-/-) mice was attenuated after application of a crush injury. These results suggest a requirement for Sox15 in the myogenic program. Expression analyses of the early myogenic regulated factors MyoD and Myf5 showed the downregulation of the MyoD and upregulation of the Myf5 in Sox15(-/-) myoblasts. These results show an increased proportion of the Myf5-positive cells and suggest a role for Sox15 in determining the early myogenic cell lineages during skeletal muscle development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/MCB.24.19.8428-8436.2004DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC516755PMC
October 2004

Rescue of lethal molybdenum cofactor deficiency by a biosynthetic precursor from Escherichia coli.

Hum Mol Genet 2004 Jun 28;13(12):1249-55. Epub 2004 Apr 28.

Institut für Pflanzenbiologie der Technischen Universität Braunschweig, Germany.

Substitution therapies for orphan genetic diseases, including enzyme replacement methods, are frequently hampered by the limited availability of the required therapeutic substance. We describe the isolation of a pterin intermediate from bacteria that was successfully used for the therapy of a hitherto incurable and lethal disease. Molybdenum cofactor (Moco) deficiency is a pleiotropic genetic disorder characterized by the loss of the molybdenum-dependent enzymes sulphite oxidase, xanthine oxidoreductase and aldehyde oxidase due to mutations in Moco biosynthesis genes. An intermediate of this pathway-'precursor Z'-is more stable than the cofactor itself and has an identical structure in all phyla. Thus, it was overproduced in the bacterium Escherichia coli, purified and used to inject precursor Z-deficient knockout mice that display a phenotype which resembles that of the human deficiency state. Precursor Z-substituted mice reach adulthood and fertility. Biochemical analyses further suggest that the described treatment can lead to the alleviation of most symptoms associated with human Moco deficiency.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddh136DOI Listing
June 2004

GREAT/LGR8 is the only receptor for insulin-like 3 peptide.

Mol Endocrinol 2003 Dec 21;17(12):2639-46. Epub 2003 Aug 21.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 6550 Fannin Street, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.

During male development testes descend from their embryonic intraabdominal position into the scrotum. Two genes, encoding the insulin-like 3 peptide (INSL3) and the GREAT/LGR8 G protein-coupled receptor, control the differentiation of gubernaculum, the caudal genitoinguinal ligament critical for testicular descent. It was established that the INSL3 peptide activates GREAT/LGR8 receptor in vitro. Mutations of Insl3 or Great cause cryptorchidism (undescended testes) in mice. Overexpression of the transgenic Insl3 causes male-like gubernaculum differentiation, ovarian descent into lower abdominal position, and reduced fertility in females. To address the question whether Great deletion complements the mutant female phenotype caused by the Insl3 overexpression, we have produced Insl3 transgenic mice deficient for Great. Such females had a wild-type phenotype, demonstrating that Great was the only cognate receptor for Insl3 in vivo. We have established that pancreatic HIT cells, transfected with the INSL3 cDNA, produce functionally active peptide. Analysis of five INSL3 mutant variants detected in cryptorchid patients showed that P49S substitution renders functionally compromised peptide. Therefore, mutations in INSL3 might contribute to the etiology of cryptorchidism. We have also showed that synthetic insulin-like peptides (INSL4 and INSL6) were unable to activate LGR7 or GREAT/LGR8.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/me.2003-0096DOI Listing
December 2003