Molecular reproduction and development

mTOR is involved in 17β-estradiol-induced, cultured immature boar Sertoli cell proliferation via regulating the expression of SKP2, CCND1, and CCNE1.

PMID 25739982


Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is known to be involved in mammalian cell proliferation, while S-phase kinase-associated protein 2 (SKP2) plays a vital role in the cell cycle. Within the testis, estrogen also plays an important role in Sertoli cell proliferation, although it is not clear how. The present study asked if mTOR is involved in 17β-estradiol-dependent Sertoli cell proliferation. We specifically assessed if extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) and/or phosphoinositide 3-kinase/protein kinase B (PI3K/AKT) exert convergent effects toward the activation of mTOR signaling, and if this signaling regulates the expression of SKP2 through retinoblastoma (RB) and early mitotic inhibitor 1 (EMI1) protein and on CCNE1 and CCND1 mRNA levels. Treatment with 17β-estradiol for 15-90 min activated mTOR, with mTOR phosphorylation peaking after 30 min. U0126 (5 μM), a specific inhibitor of (MEK1/2), and 10-DEBC (2 μM), a selective inhibitor of AKT, both significantly reduced 17β-estradiol-induced phosphorylation of mTOR. Rapamycin suppressed 17β-estradiol-induced Sertoli cell proliferation, appearing to act by reducing the abundance of SKP2, CCND1, and CCNE1 mRNA as well as RB and EMI1 protein. These data indicated that 17β-estradiol enhances Sertoli cell proliferation via mTOR activation, which involves both ERK1/2 and PI3K/AKT signaling. Activated mTOR subsequently increases SKP2 mRNA and protein expression by enhancing the expression of CCND1 and CCNE1, and inhibits SKP2 protein degradation by increasing EMI1 abundance.