Novel Role for p110β PI 3-Kinase in Male Fertility through Regulation of Androgen Receptor Activity in Sertoli Cells

Julie Guillermet-Guibert, Lee B. Smith, Guillaume Halet, Maria A Whitehead, Wayne Pearce, Diane Rebourcet, Kelly León, Pascale Crépieux, Gemma Nock, Maria Strömstedt, Malin Enerback, Claude Chelala, Mariona Graupera, John Carroll, Sabina Cosulich, Philippa T. K. Saunders, Ilpo Huhtaniemi, Bart Vanhaesebroeck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The organismal roles of the ubiquitously expressed class I PI3K isoform p110β remain largely unknown. Using a new kinase-dead knockin mouse model that mimics constitutive pharmacological inactivation of p110β, we document that full inactivation of p110β leads to embryonic lethality in a substantial fraction of mice. Interestingly, the homozygous p110β kinase-dead mice that survive into adulthood (maximum ~26% on a mixed genetic background) have no apparent phenotypes, other than subfertility in females and complete infertility in males. Systemic inhibition of p110β results in a highly specific blockade in the maturation of spermatogonia to spermatocytes. p110β was previously suggested to signal downstream of the c-kit tyrosine kinase receptor in germ cells to regulate their proliferation and survival. We now report that p110β also plays a germ cell-extrinsic role in the Sertoli cells (SCs) that support the developing sperm, with p110β inactivation dampening expression of the SC-specific Androgen Receptor (AR) target gene Rhox5, a homeobox gene critical for spermatogenesis. All extragonadal androgen-dependent functions remain unaffected by global p110β inactivation. In line with a crucial role for p110β in SCs, selective inactivation of p110β in these cells results in male infertility. Our study is the first documentation of the involvement of a signalling enzyme, PI3K, in the regulation of AR activity during spermatogenesis. This developmental pathway may become active in prostate cancer where p110β and AR have previously been reported to functionally interact.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1005304
Number of pages25
JournalPLoS Genetics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015


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