MicroRNA-150 regulates steroidogenesis of mouse testicular Leydig cells by targeting STAR
Leydig cells are essential for male reproductive development throughout life. Production of androgens as well as intermediate steroids is tightly regulated. Although microRNAs (miRNAs) are suggested to play important roles in spermatogenesis, little is currently known regarding the regulation of steroidogenesis by miRNAs in Leydig cells. Here, we found that miR-150 was predominantly expressed in Leydig cells within mouse testis. Therefore, we determined steroidogenesis of the Leydig cells in which miR-150 was knocked down or overexpressed using miR-150 antagomir and agomir, respectively. Compared with negative control group, a significant increase of STAR expression was observed in miR-150 antagomir-treated Leydig cells. Conversely, STAR expression was significantly reduced in miR-150 agomir-transfected Leydig cells. Production of sex-steroid precursors and testosterone of Leydig cells was also negatively controlled by miR-150. We further identified Star as a target of miR-150 using luciferase reporter assay. Finally, we confirmed that miR-150 was necessary for steroidogenesis and spermatogenesis in vivo via intratesticular injection of miR-150 antagomir or agomir. Taken together, our studies suggest that miR-150 negatively regulates the expression of STAR and steroidogenesis of Leydig cells in mice.
Source: The journal of Reproductive Science