AR regulates porcine immature Sertoli cell growth via binding to RNF4 and miR-124a

Reprod Domest Anim. 2021 Mar;56(3):416-426. doi: 10.1111/rda.13877. Epub 2020 Dec 19.


Sertoli cells are the only somatic cells in the seminiferous epithelium which directly contact with germ cells. Sertoli cells exhibit polarized alignment at the basal membrane of seminiferous tubules to maintain the microenvironment for growth and development of germ cells, and therefore play a crucial role in spermatogenesis. Androgens exert their action through androgen receptor (AR) and AR signalling in the testis is essential for maintenance of spermatogonial numbers, blood-testis barrier integrity, completion of meiosis, adhesion of spermatids and spermiation. In the present study, we demonstrated that AR gene could promote the proliferation of immature porcine Sertoli cells (ST cells) and the cell cycle procession, and accelerate the transition from G1 phase into S phase in ST cells. Meanwhile, miR-124a could affect the proliferation and cell cycle procession of ST cells by targeting 3'-UTR of AR gene. Furthermore, AR bound to the RNF4 via AR DNA-binding domain (DBD) and we verified that RNF4 was necessary for AR to regulate the growth of ST cells. Above all, this study suggests that AR regulates ST cell growth via binding to RNF4 and miR-124a, which may help us to further understand the function of AR in spermatogenesis.

Keywords: androgen receptor; cell growth; immature porcine Sertoli cells; miR-124a; ring finger protein 4.

MeSH terms

  • 3' Untranslated Regions / genetics
  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Proliferation / genetics*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Gene Expression
  • Male
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics*
  • Protein Domains
  • Receptors, Androgen / genetics*
  • Sertoli Cells / metabolism*
  • Sertoli Cells / physiology
  • Swine
  • Transcription Factors / genetics


  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • MicroRNAs
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Transcription Factors