Growth factors are known to play diverse roles in steroidogenesis, a process regulated by the mitochondrial steroidogenic acute regulatory (StAR) protein. The mechanism of action of one such growth factor, IGF-I, was investigated in mouse Leydig tumor (mLTC-1) cells to determine its potential role in the regulation of StAR expression. mLTC-1 cells treated with IGF-I demonstrated temporal and concentration-dependent increases in StAR expression and steroid synthesis. However, IGF-I had no effect on cytochrome P450 sidechain cleavage or 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase protein levels. IGF-I was capable of augmenting N,O′-dibutyrl-cAMP-stimulated steroidogenic responsiveness in these cells. The steroidogenic potential of IGF-I was also confirmed in primary cultures of isolated mouse Leydig cells. IGF-I increased phosphorylation of ERK1/2, an event inhibited by the MAPK/ERK inhibitors, PD98059 and U0126. Interestingly, inhibition of ERKactivity enhanced IGF-I-mediated StAR protein expression, but phosphorylation of StAR was undetectable, an observation in contrast to that seen with N,O′-dibutyrl- cAMP signaling. Further studies demonstrated that these events were tightly correlated with the expression of dosage-sensitive sex reversal, adrenal hypoplasia congenita, critical region on the X chromosome, gene 1 and scavenger receptor class B type 1. Whereas both protein kinase A and protein kinase C signaling were involved in the IGF-I-mediated steroidogenic response, the majority of the effects of IGF-I were found to be mediated by the protein kinase C pathway. Transcriptional activation of the StAR gene by IGF-I was influenced by several transcription factors, its upregulation being dependent on phosphorylation of the cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) and the activator protein 1 family member, c-Jun. Conversely, StAR gene transcription was markedly inhibited by expression of nonphosphorylatable CREB (Ser 133Ala), dominant negative A-CREB, and dominant negative c-Jun (TAM-67) mutants. Collectively, the present studies identify molecular events in IGF-I signaling that may influence testicular growth, development, and the Leydig cell steroidogenic machinery through autocrine/paracrine regulation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology