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Mohammed Hoque, Danny Chen, Rex A Hess, Feng-Qian Li, and Ken-Ichi Takemaru

Cilia are evolutionarily conserved microtubule-based structures that perform diverse biological functions. Cilia are assembled on basal bodies and anchored to the plasma membrane via distal appendages. In the male reproductive tract, multicilia in efferent ducts (EDs) move in a whip-like motion to prevent sperm agglutination. Previously, we demonstrated that the distal appendage protein CEP164 recruits Chibby1 (Cby1) to basal bodies to facilitate basal body docking and ciliogenesis. Mice lacking CEP164 in multiciliated cells (MCCs) (FoxJ1-Cre;CEP164fl/fl) show a significant loss of multicilia in the trachea, oviduct, and ependyma. In addition, we observed male sterility; however, the precise role of CEP164 in male fertility remained unknown. Here, we report that the seminiferous tubules and rete testis of FoxJ1-Cre;CEP164fl/fl mice exhibit substantial dilation, indicative of dysfunctional multicilia in the EDs. We found that multicilia were hardly detectable in the EDs of FoxJ1-Cre;CEP164fl/fl mice although FoxJ1-positive immature cells were present. Sperm aggregation and agglutination were commonly noticeable in the lumen of the seminiferous tubules and EDs of FoxJ1-Cre;CEP164fl/fl mice. In FoxJ1-Cre;CEP164fl/fl mice, the apical localization of Cby1 and the transition zone marker NPHP1 was severely diminished, suggesting basal body docking defects. TEM analysis of EDs further confirmed basal body accumulation in the cytoplasm of MCCs. Collectively, we conclude that male infertility in FoxJ1-Cre;CEP164fl/fl mice is caused by sperm agglutination and obstruction of EDs due to loss of multicilia. Our study, therefore, unravels an essential role of the distal appendage protein CEP164 in male fertility.

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Xue Zhang, Bo-Yin Tan, Shuang Zhang, Qian Feng, Ying Bai, Shi-Quan Xiao, Xue-Mei Chen, Jun-Lin He, Xue-Qing Liu, Ying-Xiong Wang, Yu-Bin Ding, and Fang-Fang Li

Decidualization of uterine stromal cells plays an important role in the establishment of normal pregnancy. Previous studies have demonstrated that Acyl-CoA binding protein (Acbp) is critical to cellular proliferation, differentiation, mitochondrial functions, and autophagy. The characterization and physiological function of Acbp during decidualization remain largely unknown. In the present study, we conducted the expression profile of Acbp in the endometrium of early pregnant mice. With the occurrence of decidualization, the expression of Acbp gradually increased. Similarly, Acbp expression was also strongly expressed in decidualized cells following artificial decidualization, both in vivo and in vitro. We applied the mice pseudopregnancy model to reveal that the expression of Acbp in the endometrium of early pregnant mice was not induced by embryonic signaling. Moreover, P4 significantly upregulated the expression of Acbp, whereas E2 appeared to have no regulating effect on Acbp expression in uterine stromal cells. Concurrently, we found that interfering with Acbp attenuated decidualization, and that might due to mitochondrial dysfunctions and the inhibition of fatty acid oxidation. The level of autophagy was increased after knocking down Acbp. During induced decidualization, the expression of ACBP was decreased with the treatment of rapamycin (an autophagy inducer), while increased with the addition of Chloroquine (an autophagy inhibitor). Our work suggests that Acbp plays an essential role in the proliferation and differentiation of stromal cells during decidualization through regulating mitochondrial functions, fatty acid oxidation, and autophagy.