Studying mechanisms of cAMP and cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase signaling in Leydig cell function with phosphoproteomics

Cell Signal. 2016 Jul;28(7):764-78. doi: 10.1016/j.cellsig.2015.11.014. Epub 2015 Nov 28.


Many cellular processes are modulated by cyclic AMP and nucleotide phosphodiesterases (PDEs) regulate this second messenger by catalyzing its breakdown. The major unique function of testicular Leydig cells is to produce testosterone in response to luteinizing hormone (LH). Treatment of Leydig cells with PDE inhibitors increases cAMP levels and the activity of its downstream effector, cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA), leading to a series of kinase-dependent signaling and transcription events that ultimately increase testosterone release. We have recently shown that PDE4B and PDE4C as well as PDE8A and PDE8B are expressed in rodent Leydig cells and that combined inhibition of PDE4 and PDE8 leads to dramatically increased steroid biosynthesis. Here we investigated the effect of PDE4 and PDE8 inhibition on the molecular mechanisms of cAMP actions in a mouse MA10 Leydig cell line model with SILAC mass spectrometry-based phosphoproteomics. We treated MA10 cells either with PDE4 family specific inhibitor (Rolipram) and PDE8 family specific inhibitor (PF-04957325) alone or in combination and quantified the resulting phosphorylation changes at five different time points between 0 and 180min. We identified 28,336 phosphosites from 4837 proteins and observed significant regulation of 749 sites in response to PDE4 and PDE8 inhibitor treatment. Of these, 132 phosphosites were consensus PKA sites. Our data strongly suggest that PDE4 and PDE8 inhibitors synergistically regulate phosphorylation of proteins required for many different cellular processes, including cell cycle progression, lipid and glucose metabolism, transcription, endocytosis and vesicle transport. Our data suggests that cAMP, PDE4 and PDE8 coordinate steroidogenesis by acting on not one rate-limiting step but rather multiple pathways. Moreover, the pools of cAMP controlled by these PDEs also coordinate many other metabolic processes that may be regulated to assure timely and sufficient testosterone secretion in response to LH.

Keywords: Leydig cells; Phosphodiesterase; Phosphorylation; Proteomics; SILAC; Steroidogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3',5'-Cyclic-AMP Phosphodiesterases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • 3',5'-Cyclic-AMP Phosphodiesterases / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism*
  • Databases as Topic
  • Endocytosis / drug effects
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases / metabolism
  • Gene Ontology
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Isotope Labeling
  • Leydig Cells / drug effects
  • Leydig Cells / enzymology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Phosphoproteins / metabolism*
  • Phosphorylation / drug effects
  • Proteome / metabolism
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • Signal Transduction* / drug effects
  • Transport Vesicles / drug effects
  • Transport Vesicles / metabolism


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Insulin
  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Proteome
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases
  • 3',5'-Cyclic-AMP Phosphodiesterases