Major changes in the cAMP-dependent signal transduction pathway triggered by FSH take place during transition of rat Sertoli cells from proliferative to the quiescent/terminally differentiated state. Using Sertoli cell cultures isolated from 10-, 20-, and 30-day-old rats, we recorded a specific increase in PDE4 activity in both the soluble and particulate subcellular fractions of 20-day-old Sertoli cells, which also displayed the highest cAMP response to FSH and the highest FSH-induced increase in PDE4 activity in both subcellular compartments. RT-PCR and immunoblotting experiments showed that almost all the PDE4D isoforms, known as the main cAMP-regulated rolipram-sensitive PDE in Sertoli cells, were expressed throughout the early postpartum period, whereas only the short PDE4D isoforms (PDE4D1 and PDE4D2) were transcriptionally regulated by FSH. Unexpectedly, the immunoblot data also revealed that the soluble PDE4 activities were mainly related to the long PDE4D isoforms and that short PDE4D1 was predominantly particulate. The subcellular distribution and expression of PDE4D proteins were unaffected by the developmental status of the Sertoli cells. Only the expression of short PDE4D1 appeared to be upregulated by FSH and only in 20-day-old Sertoli cells, which suggests phenotype-dependent differential regulation of Pde4d1 mRNA translation. Resensitization of the cAMP response to FSH in 20-day-old Sertoli cells was also associated with the highest FSH-induced transient increase in both soluble and particulate PDE4 activities, which suggests developmental changes in the PKA-mediated upregulation of the catalytic activities of long PDE4D. Such alterations may be involved in the phenotype-dependent alterations in FSH receptor coupling with its associated G proteins in rat Sertoli cells.
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Vol. 76 • No. 5