Research Papers:

Androgen receptor in Sertoli cells regulates DNA double-strand break repair and chromosomal synapsis of spermatocytes partially through intercellular EGF-EGFR signaling

Su-Ren Chen, Xiao-Xia Hao, Yan Zhang, Shou-Long Deng, Zhi-Peng Wang, Yu-Qian Wang, Xiu-Xia Wang and Yi-Xun Liu _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:18722-18735. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.7916

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Su-Ren Chen1, Xiao-Xia Hao1,2, Yan Zhang1, Shou-Long Deng1, Zhi-Peng Wang1,2, Yu-Qian Wang1,2, Xiu-Xia Wang1, Yi-Xun Liu1

1State Key Laboratory of Stem Cell and Reproductive Biology, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, People’s Republic of China

2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, People’s Republic of China

Correspondence to:

Yi-Xun Liu, e-mail: liuyx@ioz.ac.cn

Keywords: androgen receptor, Sertoli cells, meiosis, synapsis, DNA double-strand breaks

Received: October 21, 2015     Accepted: February 13, 2016     Published: March 04, 2016


Spermatogenesis does not progress beyond the pachytene stages of meiosis in Sertoli cell-specific AR knockout (SCARKO) mice. However, further evidence of meiotic arrest and underlying paracrine signals in SCARKO testes is still lacking. We utilized co-immunostaining of meiotic surface spreads to examine the key events during meiotic prophase I. SCARKO spermatocytes exhibited a failure in chromosomal synapsis observed by SCP1/SCP3 double-staining and CREST foci quantification. In addition, DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) were formed but were not repaired in the mutant spermatocytes, as revealed by γ-H2AX staining and DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) activity examination. The later stages of DSB repair, such as the accumulation of the RAD51 strand exchange protein and the localization of mismatch repair protein MLH1, were correspondingly altered in SCARKO spermatocytes. Notably, the expression of factors that guide RAD51 loading onto sites of DSBs, including TEX15, BRCA1/2 and PALB2, was severely impaired when either AR was down-regulated or EGF was up-regulated. We observed that some ligands in the epidermal growth factor (EGF) family were over-expressed in SCARKO Sertoli cells and that some receptors in the EGF receptor (EGFR) family were ectopically activated in the mutant spermatocytes. When EGF-EGFR signaling was repressed to approximately normal by the specific inhibitor AG1478 in the cultured SCARKO testis tissues, the arrested meiosis was partially rescued, and functional haploid cells were generated. Based on these data, we propose that AR in Sertoli cells regulates DSB repair and chromosomal synapsis of spermatocytes partially through proper intercellular EGF-EGFR signaling.

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