Autoimmune responses to meiotic germ cell antigens (MGCA) that are expressed on sperm and testis occur in human infertility and after vasectomy. Many MGCA are also expressed as cancer/testis antigens (CTA) in human cancers, but the tolerance status of MGCA has not been investigated. MGCA are considered to be uniformly immunogenic and nontolerogenic, and the prevailing view posits that MGCA are sequestered behind the Sertoli cell barrier in seminiferous tubules. Here, we have shown that only some murine MGCA are sequestered. Nonsequestered MCGA (NS-MGCA) egressed from normal tubules, as evidenced by their ability to interact with systemically injected antibodies and form localized immune complexes outside the Sertoli cell barrier. NS-MGCA derived from cell fragments that were discarded by spermatids during spermiation. They egressed as cargo in residual bodies and maintained Treg-dependent physiological tolerance. In contrast, sequestered MGCA (S-MGCA) were undetectable in residual bodies and were nontolerogenic. Unlike postvasectomy autoantibodies, which have been shown to mainly target S-MGCA, autoantibodies produced by normal mice with transient Treg depletion that developed autoimmune orchitis exclusively targeted NS-MGCA. We conclude that spermiation, a physiological checkpoint in spermatogenesis, determines the egress and tolerogenicity of MGCA. Our findings will affect target antigen selection in testis and sperm autoimmunity and the immune responses to CTA in male cancer patients.
Kenneth S.K. Tung, Jessica Harakal, Hui Qiao, Claudia Rival, Jonathan C.H. Li, Alberta G.A. Paul, Karen Wheeler, Patcharin Pramoonjago, Constance M. Grafer, Wei Sun, Robert D. Sampson, Elissa W.P. Wong, Prabhakara P. Reddi, Umesh S. Deshmukh, Daniel M. Hardy, Huanghui Tang, C. Yan Cheng, Erwin Goldberg
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are negative modulators of gene expression that fine-tune numerous biological processes. miRNA loss-of-function rarely results in highly penetrant phenotypes, but rather, influences cellular responses to physiologic and pathophysiologic stresses. Here, we have reported that a single member of the evolutionarily conserved miR-7 family, miR-7a2, is essential for normal pituitary development and hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) function in adulthood. Genetic deletion of
Kashan Ahmed, Mary P. LaPierre, Emanuel Gasser, Rémy Denzler, Yinjie Yang, Thomas Rülicke, Jukka Kero, Mathieu Latreille, Markus Stoffel
Alexander N. Comninos, Matthew B. Wall, Lysia Demetriou, Amar J. Shah, Sophie A. Clarke, Shakunthala Narayanaswamy, Alexander Nesbitt, Chioma Izzi-Engbeaya, Julia K. Prague, Ali Abbara, Risheka Ratnasabapathy, Victoria Salem, Gurjinder M. Nijher, Channa N. Jayasena, Mark Tanner, Paul Bassett, Amrish Mehta, Eugenii A. Rabiner, Christoph Hönigsperger, Meire Ribeiro Silva, Ole Kristian Brandtzaeg, Elsa Lundanes, Steven Ray Wilson, Rachel C. Brown, Sarah A. Thomas, Stephen R. Bloom, Waljit S. Dhillo
Hooman Mirzakhani, Augusto A. Litonjua, Thomas F. McElrath, George O’Connor, Aviva Lee-Parritz, Ronald Iverson, George Macones, Robert C. Strunk, Leonard B. Bacharier, Robert Zeiger, Bruce W. Hollis, Diane E. Handy, Amitabh Sharma, Nancy Laranjo, Vincent Carey, Weilliang Qiu, Marc Santolini, Shikang Liu, Divya Chhabra, Daniel A. Enquobahrie, Michelle A. Williams, Joseph Loscalzo, Scott T. Weiss
Eleftheria Lefkou, Apostolos Mamopoulos, Themistoklis Dagklis, Christos Vosnakis, David Rousso, Guillermina Girardi
Inflammation and oxidative stress are known risk factors for preterm birth (PTB); however, the mechanisms and pathways that influence this condition are not fully described. Previously, we showed that mTORC1 signaling is increased in mice harboring a uterine-specific deletion of transformation-related protein 53 (
Wenbo Deng, Jeeyeon Cha, Jia Yuan, Hirofumi Haraguchi, Amanda Bartos, Emma Leishman, Benoit Viollet, Heather B. Bradshaw, Yasushi Hirota, Sudhansu K. Dey
Preeclampsia is a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy in which patients develop profound sensitivity to vasopressors, such as angiotensin II, and is associated with substantial morbidity for the mother and fetus. Enhanced vasoconstrictor sensitivity and elevations in soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase 1 (sFLT1), a circulating antiangiogenic protein, precede clinical signs and symptoms of preeclampsia. Here, we report that overexpression of
Suzanne D. Burke, Zsuzsanna K. Zsengellér, Eliyahu V. Khankin, Agnes S. Lo, Augustine Rajakumar, Jennifer J. DuPont, Amy McCurley, Mary E. Moss, Dongsheng Zhang, Christopher D. Clark, Alice Wang, Ellen W. Seely, Peter M. Kang, Isaac E. Stillman, Iris Z. Jaffe, S. Ananth Karumanchi
Maternal cigarette smoking during pregnancy remains one of the most common and preventable causes of fetal growth restriction (FGR), a condition in which a fetus is unable to achieve its genetically determined potential size. Even though epidemiologic evidence clearly links maternal cigarette smoking with FGR, insight into the molecular mechanisms of cigarette smoke–induced FGR is lacking. Here, we performed transcriptional profiling of placentas obtained from smoking mothers who delivered growth-restricted infants and identified secreted frizzled-related protein 1 (sFRP1), an extracellular antagonist of endogenous WNT signaling, as a candidate molecule. sFRP1 mRNA and protein levels were markedly upregulated (~10 fold) in placentas from smoking mothers compared with those from nonsmokers. In pregnant mice, adenovirus-mediated overexpression of sFRP1 led to FGR, increased karyorrhexis in the junctional zone, and decreased proliferation of labyrinthine trophoblasts. Consistent with our hypothesis that placental WNT signaling is suppressed in maternal smokers, we found that exposure to carbon monoxide analogs led to reduced WNT signaling, increased
Alice Wang, Zsuzsanna K. Zsengellér, Jonathan L. Hecht, Roberto Buccafusca, Suzanne D. Burke, Augustine Rajakumar, Emily Weingart, Paul B. Yu, Saira Salahuddin, S. Ananth Karumanchi
Rose G. Radin, Sunni L. Mumford, Robert M. Silver, Laurie L. Lesher, Noya Galai, David Faraggi, Jean Wactawski-Wende, Janet M. Townsend, Anne M. Lynch, Hyagriv N. Simhan, Lindsey A. Sjaarda, Neil J. Perkins, Shvetha M. Zarek, Karen C. Schliep, Enrique F. Schisterman
The precise mechanisms that lead to parturition are incompletely defined. Surfactant protein-A (SP-A), which is secreted by fetal lungs into amniotic fluid (AF) near term, likely provides a signal for parturition; however, SP-A–deficient mice have only a relatively modest delay (~12 hours) in parturition, suggesting additional factors. Here, we evaluated the contribution of steroid receptor coactivators 1 and 2 (SRC-1 and SRC-2), which upregulate SP-A transcription, to the parturition process. As mice lacking both SRC-1 and SRC-2 die at birth due to respiratory distress, we crossed double-heterozygous males and females. Parturition was severely delayed (~38 hours) in heterozygous dams harboring SRC-1/-2–deficient embryos. These mothers exhibited decreased myometrial NF-κB activation, PGF2α, and expression of contraction-associated genes; impaired luteolysis; and elevated circulating progesterone. These manifestations also occurred in WT females bearing SRC-1/-2 double-deficient embryos, indicating that a fetal-specific defect delayed labor. SP-A, as well as the enzyme lysophosphatidylcholine acyltransferase-1 (LPCAT1), required for synthesis of surfactant dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine, and the proinflammatory glycerophospholipid platelet-activating factor (PAF) were markedly reduced in SRC-1/-2–deficient fetal lungs near term. Injection of PAF or SP-A into AF at 17.5 days post coitum enhanced uterine NF-κB activation and contractile gene expression, promoted luteolysis, and rescued delayed parturition in SRC-1/-2–deficient embryo-bearing dams. These findings reveal that fetal lungs produce signals to initiate labor when mature and that SRC-1/-2–dependent production of SP-A and PAF is crucial for this process.
Lu Gao, Elizabeth H. Rabbitt, Jennifer C. Condon, Nora E. Renthal, John M. Johnston, Matthew A. Mitsche, Pierre Chambon, Jianming Xu, Bert W. O’Malley, Carole R. Mendelson
Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) affects up to 10% of pregnancies in Western societies. IUGR is a strong predictor of reduced short-term neonatal survival and impairs long-term health in children. Placental insufficiency is often associated with IUGR; however, the molecular mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of placental insufficiency and IUGR are largely unknown. Here, we developed a mouse model of fetal-growth restriction and placental insufficiency that is induced by a midgestational stress challenge. Compared with control animals, pregnant dams subjected to gestational stress exhibited reduced progesterone levels and placental heme oxygenase 1 (
María Emilia Solano, Mirka Katharina Kowal, Greta Eugenia O’Rourke, Andrea Kristina Horst, Kathrin Modest, Torsten Plösch, Roja Barikbin, Chressen Catharina Remus, Robert G. Berger, Caitlin Jago, Hoang Ho, Gabriele Sass, Victoria J. Parker, John P. Lydon, Francesco J. DeMayo, Kurt Hecher, Khalil Karimi, Petra Clara Arck
Increased synthesis of cervical hyaluronan (HA) from early to late pregnancy has long been proposed to play an essential role in disorganization of the collagen-rich extracellular matrix to allow for maximal compliance and dilation of the cervix during the birth process. Here, we show that HA is not essential for increased cervical distensibility during late pregnancy. Rather, cervicovaginal HA plays an unanticipated important role in epithelial barrier protection of the lower reproductive tract. Specifically, HA depletion in the cervix and vagina resulted in inappropriate differentiation of epithelial cells, increased epithelial and mucosal permeability, and strikingly increased preterm birth rates in a mouse model of ascending vaginal infection. Collectively, these findings revealed that although HA is not obligatory for cervical compliance, it is crucial for maintaining an epithelial and mucosal barrier to limit pathogen infiltration of the lower reproductive tract during pregnancy and thereby is protective against infection-mediated preterm birth.
Yucel Akgul, R. Ann Word, Laura M. Ensign, Yu Yamaguchi, John Lydon, Justin Hanes, Mala Mahendroo
There is strong evidence that overproduction of soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFLT1) in the placenta is a major cause of vascular dysfunction in preeclampsia through sFLT1-dependent antagonism of VEGF. However, the cause of placental sFLT1 upregulation is not known. Here we demonstrated that in women with preeclampsia, sFLT1 is upregulated in placental trophoblasts, while VEGF is upregulated in adjacent maternal decidual cells. In response to VEGF, expression of
Xiujun Fan, Anshita Rai, Neeraja Kambham, Joyce F. Sung, Nirbhai Singh, Matthew Petitt, Sabita Dhal, Rani Agrawal, Richard E. Sutton, Maurice L. Druzin, Sanjiv S. Gambhir, Balamurali K. Ambati, James C. Cross, Nihar R. Nayak
Spermatogenesis is a complex, multistep process that maintains male fertility and is sustained by rare germline stem cells. Spermatogenic progression begins with spermatogonia, populations of which express distinct markers. The identity of the spermatogonial stem cell population in the undisturbed testis is controversial due to a lack of reliable and specific markers. Here we identified the transcription factor PAX7 as a specific marker of a rare subpopulation of Asingle spermatogonia in mice. PAX7+ cells were present in the testis at birth. Compared with the adult testis, PAX7+ cells constituted a much higher percentage of neonatal germ cells. Lineage tracing in healthy adult mice revealed that PAX7+ spermatogonia self-maintained and produced expanding clones that gave rise to mature spermatozoa. Interestingly, in mice subjected to chemotherapy and radiotherapy, both of which damage the vast majority of germ cells and can result in sterility, PAX7+ spermatogonia selectively survived, and their subsequent expansion contributed to the recovery of spermatogenesis. Finally, PAX7+ spermatogonia were present in the testes of a diverse set of mammals. Our data indicate that the PAX7+ subset of Asingle spermatogonia functions as robust testis stem cells that maintain fertility in normal spermatogenesis in healthy mice and mediate recovery after severe germline injury, such as occurs after cancer therapy.
Gina M. Aloisio, Yuji Nakada, Hatice D. Saatcioglu, Christopher G. Peña, Michael D. Baker, Edward D. Tarnawa, Jishnu Mukherjee, Hema Manjunath, Abhijit Bugde, Anita L. Sengupta, James F. Amatruda, Ileana Cuevas, F. Kent Hamra, Diego H. Castrillon
Channa N. Jayasena, Ali Abbara, Alexander N. Comninos, Gurjinder M.K. Nijher, Georgios Christopoulos, Shakunthala Narayanaswamy, Chioma Izzi-Engbeaya, Mathini Sridharan, Alexina J. Mason, Jane Warwick, Deborah Ashby, Mohammad A. Ghatei, Stephen R. Bloom, Anna Carby, Geoffrey H. Trew, Waljit S. Dhillo
The transition to puberty and adult fertility both require a minimum level of energy availability. The adipocyte-derived hormone leptin signals the long-term status of peripheral energy stores and serves as a key metabolic messenger to the neuroendocrine reproductive axis. Humans and mice lacking leptin or its receptor fail to complete puberty and are infertile. Restoration of leptin levels in these individuals promotes sexual maturation, which requires the pulsatile, coordinated delivery of gonadotropin-releasing hormone to the pituitary and the resulting surge of luteinizing hormone (LH); however, the neural circuits that control the leptin-mediated induction of the reproductive axis are not fully understood. Here, we found that leptin coordinated fertility by acting on neurons in the preoptic region of the hypothalamus and inducing the synthesis of the freely diffusible volume-based transmitter NO, through the activation of neuronal NO synthase (nNOS) in these neurons. The deletion of the gene encoding nNOS or its pharmacological inhibition in the preoptic region blunted the stimulatory action of exogenous leptin on LH secretion and prevented the restoration of fertility in leptin-deficient female mice by leptin treatment. Together, these data indicate that leptin plays a central role in regulating the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis in vivo through the activation of nNOS in neurons of the preoptic region.
Nicole Bellefontaine, Konstantina Chachlaki, Jyoti Parkash, Charlotte Vanacker, William Colledge, Xavier d’Anglemont de Tassigny, John Garthwaite, Sebastien G. Bouret, Vincent Prevot
Reduced trophoblast invasion and vascular conversion in decidua are thought to be the primary defect of common pregnancy disorders including preeclampsia and fetal growth restriction. Genetic studies suggest these conditions are linked to combinations of polymorphic killer cell Ig-like receptor (
Shiqiu Xiong, Andrew M. Sharkey, Philippa R. Kennedy, Lucy Gardner, Lydia E. Farrell, Olympe Chazara, Julien Bauer, Susan E. Hiby, Francesco Colucci, Ashley Moffett
There are currently more than 15 million preterm births each year. We propose that gene-environment interaction is a major contributor to preterm birth. To address this experimentally, we generated a mouse model with uterine deletion of
Jeeyeon Cha, Amanda Bartos, Mahiro Egashira, Hirofumi Haraguchi, Tomoko Saito-Fujita, Emma Leishman, Heather Bradshaw, Sudhansu K. Dey, Yasushi Hirota
Macrophages are prominent in the uterus and ovary at conception. Here we utilize the
Alison S. Care, Kerrilyn R. Diener, Melinda J. Jasper, Hannah M. Brown, Wendy V. Ingman, Sarah A. Robertson
During human pregnancy, a subset of placental cytotrophoblasts (CTBs) differentiates into cells that aggressively invade the uterus and its vasculature, anchoring the progeny and rerouting maternal blood to the placenta. In preeclampsia (PE), CTB invasion is limited, reducing placental perfusion and/or creating intermittent flow. This syndrome, affecting 4%–8% of pregnancies, entails maternal vascular alterations (e.g., high blood pressure, proteinuria, and edema) and, in some patients, fetal growth restriction. The only cure is removal of the faulty placenta, i.e., delivery. Previously, we showed that defective CTB differentiation contributes to the placental component of PE, but the causes were unknown. Here, we cultured CTBs isolated from PE and control placentas for 48 hours, enabling differentiation and invasion. In various severe forms of PE, transcriptomics revealed common aberrations in CTB gene expression immediately after isolation, including upregulation of
Yan Zhou, Matthew J. Gormley, Nathan M. Hunkapiller, Mirhan Kapidzic, Yana Stolyarov, Victoria Feng, Masakazu Nishida, Penelope M. Drake, Katherine Bianco, Fei Wang, Michael T. McMaster, Susan J. Fisher