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Kato S.,University of Shizuoka | Siqin,University of Shizuoka | Siqin,Gifu University | Minagawa I.,University of Shizuoka | And 11 more authors.
Journal of Endocrinology | Year: 2010

Although the physiological role of relaxin (RLN) in males remains largely unknown, there is limited evidence that the testis might be a candidate source and target of RLN in boars, as RLN transcripts are detected in the boar testis and it contains RLN-binding sites. To determine whether the boar testis acts as a source and target tissue of RLN, we characterised the expression pattern and cellular localisation of both RLN and its own receptor LGR7 (RXFP1) in boar testes during postnatal development by molecular and immunological approaches. Testes were collected from Duroc boars, and partial cDNA sequences of the boar homologue of human RXFP1 were identified. RLN expression increased through puberty onwards, while RXFP1 expression changed little during development. RLN mRNA and protein expression were restricted to the Leydig cells, whereas both Leydig cells and seminiferous epithelial cells expressed RXFP1 mRNA and protein. Interestingly, RLN was expressed in the testis as an 18 kDa form (the expected size of proRLN), but not as the 6 kDa mature form, during development because of a lack of the enzyme required for proRLN processing. In contrast, RXFP1 was detected at all stages as specific bands of 75 and 91-95 kDa (likely non-glycosylated and glycosylated RXFP1 respectively). Thus, we provide evidence for expression of RLN - RXFP1 ligand - receptor system in the boar testis, suggesting that the testis act as a source and possible target tissue of RLN. © 2010 Society for Endocrinology.

Minagawa I.,University of Shizuoka | Minagawa I.,Gifu University | Sagata D.,University of Shizuoka | Pitia A.M.,University of Shizuoka | And 7 more authors.
Journal of Endocrinology | Year: 2014

Relaxin-like factor (RLF), now mainly known as insulin-like factor 3 (INSL3), is essential for testis descent during fetal development; however, its function in the adult testis is still being elucidated. As a major step toward understanding the as-yet-unknown function of INSL3 in boars, this study aimed to develop a time-resolved fluoroimmunoassay for boar INSL3, characterize the dynamics of INSL3 expression during development, and demonstrate the expression of the INSL3 hormone-receptor system in the testis. All samples were collected from Duroc boars. The sensitivity of the assay system established was 8.2 pg/well (164 pg/ml), and no cross-reactivity with other hormones, such as porcine relaxin, was observed. Circulating INSL3 was shown to increase progressively during development. INSL3 secreted from the Leydig cells was released not only into the blood circulation but also into the interstitial and seminiferous compartments in sufficient concentrations. A testicular fractionation study revealed that its receptor RXFP2 transcripts were expressed mainly in testicular germ cells. In addition, INSL3 bound to the germ cell membranes in a hormone-specific and saturable manner. These results reveal that INSL3 secreted into the interstitial compartment from the Leydig cells is transported into the seminiferous compartments, where its receptor RXFP2 is expressed mainly in the germ cells to which INSL3 binds, suggesting that INSL3 functions as a paracrine factor on seminiferous germ cells. © 2014 Society for Endocrinology.

Kohsaka T.,University of Shizuoka | Kohsaka T.,Gifu University | Sagata D.,University of Shizuoka | Minagawa I.,University of Shizuoka | And 10 more authors.
Italian Journal of Anatomy and Embryology | Year: 2013

This study investigated the possibility of the presence of specific receptor for relaxin-like factor (RLF)/insulin-like peptide 3 (INSL3) in boar testes. While RLF/INSL3 was produced by Leydig cells in the boar testis, its own receptor RXFP2 was expressed mainly in meiotic and post-meiotic germ cells, but not in Leydig cells, suggesting the existence of RLF/INSL3-RXFP2 signaling in germ cells of boars. © 2013 Firenze University Press.

Minagawa I.,University of Shizuoka | Minagawa I.,Gifu University | Fukuda M.,Theravalues Research Institute | Ishige H.,University of Shizuoka | And 7 more authors.
Biochemical Journal | Year: 2012

RLF (relaxin-like factor), also known as INSL3 (insulin-like peptide 3), is a novel member of the relaxin/insulin gene family that is expressed in testicular Leydig cells. Despite the implicated role of RLF/INSL3 in testis development, its native conformation remains unknown. In the present paper we demonstrate for the first time that boar testicular RLF/INSL3 is isolated as a monomeric structure with full biological activity. Using a series of chromatography steps, the native RLF/INSL3 was highly purified as a single peak in reverse-phase HPLC.MS/MS (tandem MS) analysis of the trypsinized sample provided 66% sequence coverage and revealed a distinct monomeric structure consisting of the B-, C- and A-domains deduced previously from the RLF/INSL3 cDNA. Moreover, the N-terminal peptide was four amino acid residues longer than predicted previously.MS analysis of the intact molecule and PMF (peptide mass fingerprinting) analysis at 100% sequence coverage confirmed this structure and indicated the existence of three site-specific disulfide bonds. RLF/INSL3 retained full bioactivity in HEK (human embryonic kidney)-293 cells expressing RXFP2 (relaxin/insulin-like family peptide receptor 2), the receptor for RLF/INSL3. Furthermore, RLF/INSL3 was found to be secreted from Leydig cells into testicular venous blood. Collectively, these results indicate that boar RLF/INSL3 is secreted from testicular Leydig cells as a B-C-A monomeric structure with full biological activity. © 2011 The Author(s).

Sagata D.,University of Shizuoka | Minagawa I.,University of Shizuoka | Minagawa I.,Gifu University | Kohriki H.,University of Shizuoka | And 12 more authors.
Endocrinology | Year: 2015

Relaxin-like factor, commonly known as insulin-like factor (INSL3), is essential for testis descent during fetal development; however, its function in the adult testis is still being elucidated. The study aimed to identify a relaxin family peptide receptor 2 (RXFP2)-specific antibody suitable for immunological approaches, analyze which testicular germ cell types express RXFP2, and clarify its expression dynamics in the boar testis. In addition, the function of INSL3-RXFP2 signaling on the germ cells was explored by neutralizing INSL3 using long-term active immunization. Samples were collected from Duroc boars, and a commercially available RXFP2-specific antibody directed against the human RXFP2 endodomain was identified by characterizing its specificity in HEK-293 cells expressing mouse RXFP2, and by demonstrating the suitability for analyzing RXFP2 expression in porcine tissues. RXFP2 mRNA and protein were both localized mainly in meiotic and post-meiotic germ cells, but not in Leydig cells. Functional RXFP2, which enables INSL3 to bind, was detected as an ∼85-kDa band, which increased in intensity from the pubertal stage onward. Interestingly, INSL3 immunization significantly reduced testis weight and induced a 4-fold increase in the frequency of apoptotic germ cells, which was associated with the up-regulation of pro-apoptotic caspase-3 (CASP3) and BAX, and the down-regulation of anti-apoptotic XIAP and BCL2, and a substantial reduction in sperm concentration. These results revealed that RXFP2 was expressed in boar meiotic and post-meiotic germ cells, where INSL3 neutralization led to increased germ cell apoptosis and reduced sperm output, suggesting that INSL3 acts as a survival/anti-apoptotic factor in maintaining sperm production. Copyright © 2015 by the Endocrine Society.

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