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Xin Yuan, Jianlin Du, Qin Qin, Xiaoqun Li, Songbai Deng, Yunqing Chen, Ling Zhang, and Qiang She

Genetic lineage tracing has been used extensively in developmental biology. Many transcription factors expressed in sperm may induce Cre-mediated loxP recombination during early zygote development. In this study, we investigated the effect of sperm-expressed Cre on cell type-specific Cre-mediated loxP recombination in fate-mapping models of Tbx18+ progenitor cells. We found the recombination frequency in a reverse mating (RM) lineage was inconsistent with a normal Mendelian distribution. However, the recombination frequency in a positive mating (PM) lineage agreed with a Mendelian distribution. In the PM lineage, LacZ and EYFP were expressed in specific locations, such as the limb buds, heart, and hair follicles. Therefore, the reporter genes accurately and reliably traced cell differentiation in the PM lineage. In contrast, EYFP and LacZ were expressed throughout the embryo in the RM lineage. Thus, the reporter genes did not trace cell differentiation specifically in the RM lineage. Furthermore, Tbx18 mRNA and protein were expressed in the testicles of male mice, but almost no Tbx18 expression was detected in the ovaries of female mice. Similarly, reporter genes and Tbx18 were coexpressed in the seminiferous tubules and sperm cells of testicles. These results revealed that Cre-loxP-mediated pre-recombination in zygotes is due to Tbx18 expressed in testicle sperm cells when Cre is transmitted paternally. Our results indicate that Cre-mediated specific recombination in fate-mapping models of sperm-expressed genes may be influenced by the paternal origin of Cre. Therefore, a careful experimental design is critical when using the Cre-loxP system to trace spatial, temporal or tissue-specific fates.

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Fei Liu, Zhen-Zhen Chen, Jie Zhao, Yuan-Qiang Zhang, Jing Ma, and Wei Li

Metastasis-associated protein 3 (MTA3) functions as a versatile coregulator in cancers and in physiological contexts. A predominant expression of MTA3 in interstitial Leydig cells (LCs) and its role as a local modulator of testicular steroidogenesis have recently emerged. Incubation with insulin decreased MTA3 expression in a concentration- and exposure time-dependent manner in LCs. This raises the possibility of additional endocrine actions of insulin in the direct control of MTA3 expression, which remains so far unexplored. Herein, we reported that type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM)-mediated inhibition of MTA3 was associated with an increase in testicular oxidative stress. In contrast, a gavage of the strong antioxidant melatonin effectively ameliorated oxidative stress and restored the expression of MTA3, but failed to change serum insulin levels in the diabetic mice with testosterone deficiency (TD). Using multiple biochemical approaches, we demonstrated that oxidative stress suppressed MTA3 expression via repression of nuclear receptor subfamily 4 group A member 1 (NR4A1)-mediated transactivation of MTA3 in mouse LCs. By contrast, ectopic expression of NR4A1 ameliorated oxidative stress-impaired MTA3 expression in LCs. By employing an effective in vivo gene transfer method with microinjection of lentiviral plasmids, we showed that replenishment of MTA3 expression in vivo partially restored testicular steroidogenesis and improved male fertility in diabetic mice with TD. Thus, we have unveiled a central regulatory hub, involving oxidative stress-impaired NR4A1-driven transactivation of MTA3 in stimulated LCs, as a potential mechanism regulating crosstalk between hyperinsulinemia and male infertility associated with TD.

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Yingying Han, Shuhao Zhang, Haotong Zhuang, Sijie Fan, Jiayi Yang, Liwei Zhao, Weidong Bao, Fuli Gao, Haolin Zhang, Zhengrong Yuan, and Qiang Weng

Adiponectin (ADIPOQ, encoded by Adipoq) is an important white adipose-derived adipokine linked to energy homeostasis and reproductive function. This study aims to reveal the expression and role of the adiponectin system in the ovaries under acute malnutrition. In this study, 48-h food deprivation significantly inhibited ovarian growth by suppressing cell proliferation and inducing cell apoptosis in the ovaries of gonadotrophin-primed immature mice. It was also accompanied by significantly decelerated basic metabolism (glucose, triacylglycerol and cholesterol), varied steroid hormones (follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone and estradiol) and vanishment of the peri-ovarian fat. It is noteworthy that after acute fasting, the adiponectin levels in ovaries rather than in blood were significantly elevated. Immunohistochemical study demonstrated that adiponectin and its receptors (ADIPOR1 and ADIPOR2) primarily appeared in ovarian somatic and/or germ cells, and their protein expressions were upregulated in the ovaries from fasted mice. Further in vitro study verified that ADIPOR1/2 agonist obviously inhibited follicle-stimulating hormone-induced oocyte meiotic resumption, while the antagonist significantly enhanced the percentage of oocyte maturation in the absence of follicle-stimulating hormone. Furthermore, the build up of peri-ovarian fat under physiological status in mice showed a positive correlation with both the hypertrophy of adipocytes and growth of ovaries. Taken together, these findings indicate that the upregulation of the adiponectin system disturbs the normal female reproductive function under the malnutrition status, and it may be associated with the loss of peri-ovarian fat depots.