Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A Key To Male Fertility

Date:
March 7, 2007
Source:
CNRS
Summary:
French CNRS scientists in collaboration with a team at the Institute of Genetics Strasbourg, France have just identified a key regulator of male fertility. This work, published in the journal Genes & Development, suggests that it is worth exploring the signalling pathways controlled by SHP protein in men suffering from fertility disorders.

Two microphotographs of a 28-day-old testis. Mice with the SHP protein show no differentiated germ cells (left), whereas mice with no SHP protein already have differentiated germ cells (shown by the arrows in the image on the right and recognizable by their spindle shape) which will give rise to sperm.
Credit: Copyright David Volle / CNRS 2007

Until now, mutations of the LH hormone receptor were the only explanation known for sexual precocity in boys. A team at the Institute of Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology (IGBMC, CNRS / Inserm / Universitι Louis Pasteur de Strasbourg), in collaboration with researchers at the University of Dallas and the University of Louvain, has just identified a key regulator of male fertility, the SHP protein, bringing to light the major role it plays in controlling the synthesis of testosterone and in differentiation of germ cells in mouse testes.

This work, published in the journal Genes & Development, suggests that it is worth exploring the signalling pathways controlled by SHP in men suffering from fertility disorders.

Puberty is the result of endocrine alterations programmed from the moment of sexual differentiation in the embryo and fœtus. It is characterized by anatomical alterations: the maturation of primary sexual characteristics (penis, scrotum and testes) and the appearance of secondary sexual characteristics (hair growth, breaking of the voice, growth, etc). Such changes are caused by processes within the brain, and in particular by a neuroendocrine gland, the pituitary gland, which secretes two hormones, FSH and LH. Both these hormones act on the testes, causing the production of sperm as well as the secretion of testosterone. Testosterone in particular is responsible for the development of secondary sexual characteristics in boys. At the current time, mutations of the LH receptor are the only known causes of sexual precocity in boys, which shows the important role that this signaling pathway plays in the control of the endocrine system.

At the Institute of Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology, a new player which is involved in the sexual maturation of male mice, the SHP protein, has been identified. The team led by Johan Auwerx decided to study the role of this protein in order to obtain a better understanding of the triggering of testosterone synthesis in the testes.

Two models of mouse were used, those which had SHP protein and those that did not. The result was astonishing. The mice without SHP were able to reproduce about a week earlier than the controls. This is a considerable difference since, as a general rule, male mice are sexually mature at 7 or 8 weeks. In addition, regardless of increased activity in the pituitary gland, mice without SHP produce more testosterone prematurely, leading to premature maturation of primary sexual characteristics. At the same time, the SHP protein controls the timing of the differentiation of the germ cells by inhibiting the metabolism of retinoic acids (see illustration).

It should therefore be possible to look for mutations of SHP in order to improve our understanding of certain kinds of sexual precocity whose causes are as yet unexplained. It should also be pointed out that, because of the family that it belongs to, SHP is a potential therapeutic target, thanks to the development of new synthetic ligands. This work therefore opens up new prospects for research aimed at improving the production of sperm in men suffering from fertility disorders.

Further research is vital if we are to understand the overall mechanisms involved in sexual maturation in boys. However, these findings mean that we can now identify a new player involved in the control of male fertility.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by CNRS. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

CNRS. "A Key To Male Fertility." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 March 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070302082255.htm>.
CNRS. (2007, March 7). A Key To Male Fertility. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070302082255.htm
CNRS. "A Key To Male Fertility." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070302082255.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) — The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) — Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) — A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins