Androgen-responsive microRNAs in mouse Sertoli cells

PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e41146. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0041146. Epub 2012 Jul 20.


Although decades of research have established that androgen is essential for spermatogenesis, androgen's mechanism of action remains elusive. This is in part because only a few androgen-responsive genes have been definitively identified in the testis. Here, we propose that microRNAs--small, non-coding RNAs--are one class of androgen-regulated trans-acting factors in the testis. Specifically, by using androgen suppression and androgen replacement in mice, we show that androgen regulates the expression of several microRNAs in Sertoli cells. Our results reveal that several of these microRNAs are preferentially expressed in the testis and regulate genes that are highly expressed in Sertoli cells. Because androgen receptor-mediated signaling is essential for the pre- and post-meiotic germ cell development, we propose that androgen controls these events by regulating Sertoli/germ cell-specific gene expression in a microRNA-dependent manner.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Androgens / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Desmocollins
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Male
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Mice
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Organ Specificity / genetics
  • Sertoli Cells / drug effects*
  • Sertoli Cells / metabolism*
  • Spermatogenesis / drug effects
  • Spermatogenesis / genetics
  • Testis / metabolism
  • Testosterone / pharmacology
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Androgens
  • Desmocollins
  • Dsc1 protein, mouse
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Foxd1 protein, mouse
  • Foxs1 protein, mouse
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • MicroRNAs
  • Transcription Factors
  • Testosterone

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE37679