skip to main content


Title: Mitochondrial regulation in spermatogenesis
The classic roles of mitochondria in energy production, metabolism, and apoptosis have been well defined. However, a growing body of evidence suggests that mitochondria are also active players in regulating stem cell fate decision and lineage commitment via signaling transduction, protein modification, and epigenetic modulations. This is particularly interesting for spermatogenesis, during which germ cells demonstrate changing metabolic requirements across various stages of development. It is increasingly recognized that proper male fertility depends on exquisitely controlled plasticity of mitochondrial features, activities, and functional states. The unique role of mitochondria in germ cell ncRNA processing further adds another layer of complexity to mitochondrial regulation during spermatogenesis. In this review, we will discuss potential regulatory mechanisms of how mitochondria swiftly reshape their features, activities, and functions to support critical germ cell fate transitions during spermatogenesis. In addition, we will also review recent findings of how mitochondrial regulators coordinate with germline proteins to participate in germ cell-specific activities.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
2042908
NSF-PAR ID:
10400459
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Reproduction
Volume:
163
Issue:
4
ISSN:
1470-1626
Page Range / eLocation ID:
R55 to R69
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Mitochondrial features and activities vary in a cell type- and developmental stage-dependent manner to critically impact cell function and lineage development. Particularly in male germ cells, mitochondria are uniquely clustered into intermitochondrial cement (IMC), an electron-dense granule in the cytoplasm to support proper spermatogenesis. But it remains puzzling how mitochondria assemble into such a stable structure as IMC without limiting membrane during development. Here, we showed that GASZ (germ cell-specific, ankyrin repeat, SAM and basic leucine zipper domain containing protein), a mitochondrion-localized germ cell-specific protein, self-interacted with each other to cluster mitochondria and maintain protein stability for IMC assembling. When the self-interaction of GASZ was disrupted by either deleting its critical interaction motif or using a blocking peptide, the IMC structure was destabilized, which in turn led to impaired spermatogenesis. Notably, the blocked spermatogenesis was reversible once GASZ self-interaction was recovered. Our findings thus reveal a critical mechanism by which mitochondrion-based granules are properly assembled to support germ cell development while providing an alternative strategy for developing nonhormonal male contraceptives by targeting IMC protein interactions.

     
    more » « less
  2. Contrasting the equal contribution of nuclear genetic material from maternal and paternal sources to offspring, passage of mitochondria, and thus mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), is uniparental through the egg. Since mitochondria in eggs are ancestral to all somatic mitochondria of the next generation and to all cells of future generations, oocytes must prepare for the high energetic demands of maturation, fertilization and embryogenesis while simultaneously ensuring that their mitochondrial genomes are inherited in an undamaged state. Although significant effort has been made to understand how the mtDNA bottleneck and purifying selection act coordinately to prevent silent and unchecked spreading of invisible mtDNA mutations through the female germ line across successive generations, it is unknown if and how somatic cells of the immediate next generation are spared from inheritance of detrimental mtDNA molecules. Here, we review unique aspects of mitochondrial activity and segregation in eggs and early embryos, and how these events play into embryonic developmental competency in the face of advancing maternal age. 
    more » « less
  3. null (Ed.)
    In sexually reproducing metazoans, spermatogenesis is the process by which uncommitted germ cells give rise to haploid sperm. Work in model systems has revealed mechanisms controlling commitment to the sperm fate, but how this fate is subsequently executed remains less clear. While studying the well-established role of the conserved nuclear hormone receptor transcription factor, NHR-23/NR1F1, in regulating C. elegans molting, we discovered NHR-23/NR1F1 is also constitutively expressed in developing 1° spermatocytes and is a critical regulator of spermatogenesis. In this novel role, NHR-23/NR1F1 functions downstream of the canonical sex determination pathway. Degron-mediated depletion of NHR-23/NR1F1 within hermaphrodite or male germlines causes sterility due to an absence of functional sperm as depleted animals produce arrested primary spermatocytes rather than haploid sperm. These spermatocytes arrest in prometaphase I and fail to either progress to anaphase or attempt spermatid-residual body partitioning. They make sperm-specific membranous organelles (MOs) but fail to assemble their major sperm protein into fibrous bodies. NHR-23/NR1F1 appears to function independently of the known SPE-44 gene regulatory network, revealing the existence of an NHR-23/NR1F1-mediated module that regulates the spermatogenesis program. 
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    In addition to critical roles in bioenergetics, mitochondria are key contributors to the regulation of many other functions in cells, ranging from steroidogenesis to apoptosis. Numerous studies further demonstrate that cell type‐specific differences exist in mitochondria, with cells of a given lineage tailoring their endogenous mitochondrial population to suit specific functional needs. These findings, coupled with studies of the therapeutic potential of mitochondrial transplantation, provide a strong impetus to better understand how mitochondria can influence cell function or fate. Here an inducible mitochondrial depletion modelis used to study how cells lacking endogenous mitochondria respond, on a global protein expression level, to transplantation with lineage‐mismatched (LM) mitochondria. It is shown that LM mitochondrial transplantation does not alter the proteomic profile in nonmitochondria–depleted recipient cells; however, enforced depletion of endogenous mitochondria results in dramatic changes in the proteomic landscape, which returns to the predepletion state following internalization of LM mitochondria. These data, derived from a cell system that can be rendered free of influence by endogenous mitochondria, indicate that transplantation of mitochondria—even from a source that differs significantly from the recipient cell population, effectively restores a normal proteomic landscape to cells lacking their own mitochondria.

     
    more » « less
  5. Mitochondrial transplantation is emerging as a novel cellular biotherapy to alleviate mitochondrial damage and dysfunction. Mitochondria play a crucial role in establishing cellular homeostasis and providing cell with the energy necessary to accomplish its function. Owing to its endosymbiotic origin, mitochondria share many features with their bacterial ancestors. Unlike the nuclear DNA, which is packaged into nucleosomes and protected from adverse environmental effects, mitochondrial DNA are more prone to harsh environmental effects, in particular that of the reactive oxygen species. Mitochondrial damage and dysfunction are implicated in many diseases ranging from metabolic diseases to cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, among others. While it was once thought that transplantation of mitochondria would not be possible due to their semiautonomous nature and reliance on the nucleus, recent advances have shown that it is possible to transplant viable functional intact mitochondria from autologous, allogenic, and xenogeneic sources into different cell types. Moreover, current research suggests that the transplantation could positively modulate bioenergetics and improve disease outcome. Mitochondrial transplantation techniques and consequences of transplantation in cardiomyocytes are the theme of this review. We outline the different mitochondrial isolation and transfer techniques. Finally, we detail the consequences of mitochondrial transplantation in the cardiovascular system, more specifically in the context of cardiomyopathies and ischemia. 
    more » « less