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30 October 2013 Transcriptome Analysis of the Dihydrotestosterone-Exposed Fetal Rat Gubernaculum Identifies Common Androgen and Insulin-Like 3 Targets
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Androgens and insulin-like 3 (INSL3) are required for development of the fetal gubernaculum and testicular descent. Previous studies suggested that the INSL3-exposed fetal gubernacular transcriptome is enriched for genes involved in neural pathways. In the present study, we profiled the transcriptome of fetal gubernaculum explants exposed to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and compared this response to that with INSL3. We exposed fetal (Embryonic Day 17) rat gubernacula to DHT for 24 h (10 and 30 nM) or 6 h (1 and 10 nM) in organ culture and analyzed gene expression relative to that of vehicle-treated controls using Affymetrix arrays. Results were annotated using functional, pathway, and promoter analyses and independently validated for selected transcripts using quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR). Transcripts were differentially expressed after 24 h but not 6 h. Most highly overrepresented functional categories included those related to gene expression, skeletal and muscular development and function, and Wnt signaling. Promoter response elements enriched in the DHT-specific transcriptome included consensus sequences for c-ETS1, ELK1, CREB, CRE-BP1/c-June, NRF2, and USF. We observed that 55% of DHT probe sets were also differentially expressed after INSL3 exposure and that the direction of change was the same in 96%. The qRT-PCR results confirmed that DHT increased expression of the INSL3-responsive genes Crlf1 and Chrdl2 but reduced expression of Wnt4. We also validated reduced Tgfb2 and Cxcl12 and increased Slit3 expression following DHT exposure. These data suggest a robust overlap in the DHT- and INSL3-regulated transcriptome that may be mediated in part by CREB signaling and a common Wnt pathway response for both hormones in the fetal gubernaculum.

Julia S. Barthold, Yanping Wang, Alan Robbins, Jack Pike, Erin McDowell, Kamin J. Johnson, and Suzanne M. McCahan "Transcriptome Analysis of the Dihydrotestosterone-Exposed Fetal Rat Gubernaculum Identifies Common Androgen and Insulin-Like 3 Targets," Biology of Reproduction 89(6), (30 October 2013).
Received: 6 August 2013; Accepted: 1 October 2013; Published: 30 October 2013

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