Male fertility involves the successful transmission of the genetic code to the next generation. It requires appropriately timed cellular processes during testis development, adequate support of spermatogenesis by hormonal cues from the reproductive axis and cellular cross-talk between germ and somatic cells. In addition to being the vessel of the father’s genome, increasing evidence shows that the mature sperm carries valuable epigenetic information – the epigenome – that, after fecundation, influences the development of the next generation, affecting biological traits and disease susceptibility. The epigenome of the germ line is susceptible to environmental factors, including exogenous chemicals and diet, but it is also affected by endogenous molecules and pathophysiological conditions. Factors affecting testis development and the epigenetic information of the germ line are critical for fertility and of relevance to the non-genetic but heritable component in the etiology of complex conditions. Thyroid hormones are one of those factors and their action, when untimely, produces profound effects on the developing testis, affecting spermatogenesis, steroidogenesis, testis size, reproductive hormones and fertility. Altered thyroid hormone states can also change the epigenetic information of the male germ line, with phenotypic consequences for future generations. In the context of past literature concerning the consequences of altered thyroid hormone action for testis development, here we review recent findings about the pathophysiological roles of the principal determinants of testicular thyroid hormone action. We also discuss limited work on the effects of thyroid hormone on the male germ line epigenome and the implications for the intergenerational transmission of phenotypes via epigenetic mechanisms.
Arturo Hernandez and M Elena Martinez
Gabriela Hernández-Puga, Arturo Mendoza, Alfonso León-del-Río and Aurea Orozco
Thyroid hormones (THs) induce pleiotropic effects in vertebrates, mainly through the activation or repression of gene expression. These mechanisms involve thyroid hormone binding to thyroid hormone receptors, an event that is followed by the sequential recruitment of coactivator or corepressor proteins, which in turn modify the rate of transcription. In the present study, we looked for specific coregulators recruited by the long isoform of the teleostean thyroid hormone receptor beta 1 (L-Trb1) when bound to the bioactive TH, 3,5-T2 (T2). We found that jun activation domain-binding protein1 (Jab1) interacts with L-Trb1 + T2 complex. Using both the teleostean and human TRB1 isoforms, we characterized the Jab1–TRB1 by yeast two-hybrid, pull-down and transactivation assays. Our results showed that the TRB1–Jab1 interaction was ligand dependent and involved the single Jab1 nuclear receptor box, as well as the ligand-binding and N-terminal domains of TRB1. We also provide evidence of ligand-dependent, dual coregulatory properties of Jab1. Indeed, when T2 is bound to L-Trb1 or hTRB1, Jab1 acts as a coactivator of transcription, whereas it has corepressor activity when interacting with the T3-bound S-Trb1 or hTRB1. These mechanisms could explain some of the pleiotropic actions exerted by THs to regulate diverse biological processes.