[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Steroidogenic factor-1 (SF-1, NR5A1, Ad4BP) is a master regulator of adrenal development and steroidogenesis. Defects in several known targets of SF-1 can cause adrenal disorders in humans.
We aimed to identify novel targets of SF-1 in the human adrenal. These factors could be important regulators of adrenal development and steroidogenesis and potential candidates for adrenal dysfunction.
A gene discovery strategy was developed based on bidirectional manipulation of SF-1. Overexpression or knockdown of SF-1 in NCI-H295R human adrenocortical cells was used to identify a subset of positively-regulated SF-1 targets.
This approach identified well-established SF-1 target genes (STAR, CYP11A) and several novel genes (VSNL1, ZIM2, PEG3, SOAT1, and MTSS1). Given its role in cholesterol metabolism, sterol O-acyltransferase 1 (SOAT1, previously referred to as acyl-Coenzyme A:cholesterol acyltransferase 1, ACAT) was studied further and found to be expressed in the developing human fetal adrenal cortex. We hypothesized that impaired SOAT1 activity could result in adrenal insufficiency through reduced cholesteryl ester reserves or through toxic destruction of the adrenal cells during development. Therefore, mutational analysis of SOAT1 in a cohort of 43 patients with unexplained adrenal insufficiency was performed but failed to reveal significant coding sequence changes.
Our reverse discovery approach led to the identification of novel SF-1 targets and defined SOAT1 as an important factor in human adrenal steroidogenesis. SF-1-dependent up-regulation of SOAT1 may be important for maintaining readily-releasable cholesterol reserves needed for active steroidogenesis and during episodes of recurrent stress.
The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism 01/2011; 96(4):E663-8. · 6.50 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The nuclear receptor steroidogenic factor-1 (SF-1, NR5A1) is a key regulator of adrenal and gonadal biology. Disruption of SF-1 can lead to disorders of adrenal development, while increased SF-1 dosage has been associated with adrenocortical tumorigenesis. We aimed to identify a novel subset of SF-1 target genes in the adrenal by using chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) microarrays (ChIP-on-chip) combined with systems analysis. SF-1 ChIP-on-chip was performed in NCI-H295R human adrenocortical cells using promoter tiling arrays, leading to the identification of 445 gene loci where SF-1-binding regions were located from 10 kb upstream to 3 kb downstream of a transcriptional start. Network analysis of genes identified as putative SF-1 targets revealed enrichment for angiogenic process networks. A 1.1-kb SF-1-binding region was identified in the angiopoietin 2 (Ang2, ANGPT2) promoter in a highly repetitive region, and SF-1-dependent activation was confirmed in luciferase assays. Angiogenesis is paramount in adrenal development and tumorigenesis, but until now a direct link between SF-1 and vascular remodeling has not been established. We have identified Ang2 as a potentially important novel target of SF-1 in the adrenal gland, indicating that regulation of angiogenesis might be an important additional mechanism by which SF-1 exerts its actions in the adrenal gland.
The FASEB Journal 12/2010; 25(4):1166-75. · 5.70 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Steroidogenic factor-1 (SF-1, Ad4BP, encoded by NR5A1) is a key regulator of adrenal and reproductive development and function. Based upon the features found in Nr5a1 null mice, initial attempts to identify SF-1 changes in humans focused on those rare individuals with primary adrenal failure, a 46,XY karyotype, complete gonadal dysgenesis and Müllerian structures. Although alterations affecting DNA-binding of SF-1 were found in two such cases, disruption of SF-1 is not commonly found in patients with adrenal failure. In contrast, it is emerging that variations in SF-1 can be found in association with a range of human reproductive phenotypes such as 46,XY disorders of sex development (DSD), hypospadias, anorchia, male factor infertility, or primary ovarian insufficiency in women. Overexpression or overactivity of SF-1 is also reported in some adrenal tumors or endometriosis. Therefore, the clinical spectrum of phenotypes associated with variations in SF-1 is expanding and the importance of this nuclear receptor in human endocrine disease is now firmly established.
Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 11/2010; 336(1-2):198-205. · 4.04 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: One in seven couples worldwide are infertile, and male factor infertility accounts for approximately 30%-50% of these cases. Although many genes are known to be essential for gametogenesis, there are surprisingly few monogenic mutations that have been conclusively demonstrated to cause human spermatogenic failure. A nuclear receptor, NR5A1 (also called steroidogenic factor 1), is a key transcriptional regulator of genes involved in the hypothalamic-pituitary-steroidogenic axis, and it is expressed in the steroidogenic tissue of the developing and adult human gonad. Mutations of NR5A1 have been reported in 46,XY disorders of sex development and in 46,XX primary ovarian insufficiency. To test the hypothesis that mutations in NR5A1 cause male infertility, we sequenced NR5A1 in 315 men with idiopathic spermatogenic failure. We identified seven men with severe spermatogenic failure who carried missense mutations in NR5A1. Functional studies indicated that these mutations impaired NR5A1 transactivational activity. We did not observe these mutations in more than 4000 control alleles, including the entire coding sequence of 359 normospermic men and 370 fertile male controls. NR5A1 mutations are found in approximately 4% of men with otherwise unexplained severe spermatogenic failure.
The American Journal of Human Genetics 09/2010; 87(4):505-12. · 11.20 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hypospadias is a frequent congenital anomaly but in most cases an underlying cause is not found. Steroidogenic factor 1 (SF-1, NR5A1, Ad4BP) is a key regulator of human sex development and an increasing number of SF-1 (NR5A1) mutations are reported in 46,XY disorders of sex development (DSD). We hypothesized that NR5A1 mutations could be identified in boys with hypospadias.
Mutational analysis of NR5A1 in 60 individuals with varying degrees of hypospadias from the German DSD network.
Heterozygous NR5A1 mutations were found in three out of 60 cases. These three individuals represented the most severe end of the spectrum studied as they presented with penoscrotal hypospadias, variable androgenization of the phallus and undescended testes (three out of 20 cases (15%) with this phenotype). Testosterone was low in all three patients and inhibin B/anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) were low in two patients. Two patients had a clear male gender assignment. Gender re-assignment to male occurred in the third case. Two patients harbored heterozygous nonsense mutations (p.Q107X/WT, p.E11X/WT). One patient had a heterozygous splice site mutation in intron 2 (c.103-3A/WT) predicted to disrupt the main DNA-binding motif. Functional studies of the nonsense mutants showed impaired transcriptional activation of an SF-1-responsive promoter (Cyp11a). To date, adrenal insufficiency has not occurred in any of the patients.
SF-1 (NR5A1) mutations should be considered in 46,XY individuals with severe (penoscrotal) hypospadias, especially if undescended testes, low testosterone, or low inhibin B/AMH levels are present. SF-1 mutations in milder forms of idiopathic hypospadias are unlikely to be common.
European Journal of Endocrinology 05/2009; 161(2):237-42. · 3.14 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND Steroidogenic factor 1 (SF1/AdBP4/FTZF1, NR5A1) is a nuclear receptor transcription factor that plays a key role in regulating adrenal and gonadal development, steroidogenesis and reproduction. Recently, haploinsufficiency of SF1 has been described in several 46,XY individuals with mild gonadal dysgenesis and impaired androgenization, but normal adrenal function, suggesting that dosage-sensitive or domain-specific effects of SF1 action are important in human testicular development and function. Our objective was to investigate whether partial defects in SF1 function might be associated with milder male reproductive phenotypes, such as bilateral anorchia ('vanishing testis syndrome') and micropenis. METHODS This study involved mutational analysis of NR5A1 in 24 individuals with bilateral anorchia and micropenis from the French Collaborative Anorchia study, as well as in vitro functional studies of SF1-dependent transcriptional activation and computer modeling. RESULTS A novel heterozygous missense mutation (V355M) in SF1 was found in one boy with a micropenis and testicular regression syndrome. This non-synonymous change was found to affect a highly conserved amino acid within helix 7 of the ligand-binding domain of SF1. This V355M mutation did not affect stability or nuclear localization, but did result in an approximately 50% reduction in SF1 activity in several different assay systems. CONCLUSIONS In conclusion, heterozygous partial loss of function mutations in SF1 may be associated with bilateral anorchia ('vanishing testis syndrome') and micropenis in humans.
Human Reproduction 01/2008; 22(12):3255-61. · 4.67 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The P450 enzyme aromatase (CYP19) plays a crucial role in the endocrine and paracrine biosynthesis of estrogens from androgens in many diverse estrogen-responsive tissues. Complete aromatase deficiency has been reported in a small number of 46,XX girls with genital ambiguity and absent pubertal development, but it is unknown whether nonclassic phenotypes exist.
The objective of this study was to determine whether variant forms of aromatase insufficiency can occur in humans.
Four patients (46,XX) from three kindreds with variable degrees of androgenization and pubertal failure were studied using mutational analysis of CYP19 and assay of enzyme activity.
Aromatase insufficiency resulting in genital ambiguity at birth, but with variable breast development at puberty (B2-B4), occurred in 46,XX patients from two kindreds who harbored point mutations or single codon deletions (R435C, F234del). Absent puberty with minimal androgenization at birth was found in one girl with a deletion involving exon 5 of CYP19 (exon5del), which would be predicted to lead to an in-frame deletion of 59 amino acids from the enzyme. Functional studies revealed low residual aromatase activity in the cases in which breast development occurred.
These studies demonstrate that aromatase mutations can produce variable or "nonclassic" phenotypes in humans. Low residual aromatase activity may be sufficient for breast and uterine development to occur at puberty, despite significant androgenization in utero. Such phenotypic variability may be influenced further by modifying factors such as nonclassic pathways of estrogen synthesis, variability in coregulators, or differences in androgen responsiveness.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Steroidogenic factor 1 (SF1/AdBP4/FTZF1, NR5A1) is a nuclear receptor transcription factor that plays a key role in regulating adrenal and gonadal development, steroidogenesis, and reproduction. Targeted deletion of Nr5a1 (Sf1) in the mouse results in adrenal and gonadal agenesis, XY sex-reversal, and persistent Müllerian structures in males. Consistent with the murine phenotype, human mutations in SF1 were described initially in two 46,XY individuals with female external genitalia, Müllerian structures (uterus), and primary adrenal failure.
Given recent case reports of haploinsufficiency of SF1 affecting testicular function in humans, we aimed to identify SF1 mutations in a cohort of individuals with a phenotypic spectrum of 46,XY gonadal dysgenesis/impaired androgenization (now termed 46,XY disorders of sex development) with normal adrenal function.
The study included mutational analysis of NR5A1 in 30 individuals with 46,XY disorders of sex development, followed by functional studies of SF1 activity.
Heterozygous missense mutations in NR5A1 were found in four individuals (four of 30, 13%) with this phenotype. These mutations (V15M, M78I, G91S, L437Q) were shown to impair transcriptional activation through abnormal DNA binding (V15M, M78I, G91S), altered subnuclear localization (V15M, M78I), or disruption of the putative ligand-binding pocket (L437Q). Two mutations appeared to be de novo or germline changes. The other two mutations appeared to be inherited in a sex-limited dominant manner because the mother is heterozygous for the change.
These studies demonstrate that SF1 mutations are more frequent than previously suspected causes of impaired fetal and postnatal testicular function in 46,XY individuals.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Familial glucocorticoid deficiency type I (FGD1) is a rare form of primary adrenal insufficiency resulting from recessive mutations in the ACTH receptor (MC2R, MC2R). Individuals with this condition typically present in infancy or childhood with signs and symptoms of cortisol insufficiency, but disturbances in the renin-angiotensin system, aldosterone synthesis or sodium homeostasis are not a well-documented association of FGD1. As ACTH stimulation has been shown to stimulate aldosterone release in normal controls, and other causes of hyponatraemia can occur in children with cortisol deficiency, we investigated whether MC2R changes might be identified in children with primary adrenal failure who were being treated for mineralocorticoid insufficiency.
Mutational analysis of MC2R by direct sequencing.
Children (n = 22) who had been diagnosed with salt-losing forms of adrenal hypoplasia (19 isolated cases, 3 familial), and who were negative for mutations in DAX1 (NR0B1) and SF1 (NR5A1).
MC2R mutations were found in three individuals or kindred (I: homozygous S74I; II: novel compound heterozygous R146H/560delT; III: novel homozygous 579-581delTGT). These changes represent severely disruptive loss-of-function mutations in this G-protein coupled receptor, including the first reported homozygous frameshift mutation. The apparent disturbances in sodium homeostasis were mild, manifest at times of stress (e.g. infection, salt-restriction, heat), and likely resolved with time.
MC2R mutations should be considered in children who have primary adrenal failure with apparent mild disturbances in renin-sodium homeostasis. These children may have been misdiagnosed as having salt-losing adrenal hypoplasia. Making this diagnosis has important implications for treatment, counselling and long-term prognosis.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A male presented at age 2.2 years with a 6-week history of intermittent vomiting and hyperpigmentation. Investigations showed salt wasting with hyperkalaemia, a grossly impaired cortisol response to ACTH stimulation, elevated renin and ACTH. Family history revealed that two maternal uncles had died soon after birth. A third uncle failed to thrive during infancy but improved with a course of cortisone, then being untreated until further investigation revealed adrenal insufficiency. A fourth uncle died aged 10 days, with urinary salt loss and hypoplastic adrenal glands at postmortem. Molecular studies on the proband, his mother, maternal grandmother, and surviving uncle showed a novel C to G substitution at nucleotide position 794 (missense mutation T265R) in the DAX1 (NR0B1) gene. The proband has responded well to steroid replacement but has proved sensitive to 9alpha-fludrocortisone treatment, developing hypertension on a dose of 133 microg/m(2)/day. At 8.8 years he was noted to have testicular volumes of 4 ml, despite no other evidence of secondary sexual development and prepubertal gonadotrophin levels. Novel features of this family include a novel DAX1 mutation, marked variability in age of presentation, hypertension on 'standard' doses of 9alpha-fludrocortisone and mild testicular enlargement.
Hormone Research 02/2007; 68(1):32-7. · 2.48 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The GnRH receptor plays a central role in regulating gonadotropin synthesis and release, and several mutations in the GNRHR gene have been reported in patients with idiopathic or familial forms of isolated hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (IHH).
The objective of the study was to investigate whether partial loss-of-function mutations in the GnRH receptor might be responsible for delayed puberty phenotypes.
Patients included sibling pairs with delayed puberty (n = 8) or those in whom one brother had delayed puberty and another had hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (n = 3).
Methods included mutational analysis of the GNRHR gene.
A homozygous R262Q mutation in the GnRH receptor was identified in two brothers from one family. In this kindred, the proband presented at 15 yr of age with delayed puberty. After a short course of testosterone, he seemed to be progressing through puberty appropriately and was discharged from follow-up. His younger brother was also referred with delayed puberty but showed little progress after treatment. Frequent sampling revealed detectable but apulsatile LH and FSH release. His clinical progress was consistent with IHH, and he requires ongoing testosterone replacement.
Homozygous partial loss-of-function mutations in the GnRH receptor, such as R262Q, can present with variable phenotypes including apparent delayed puberty. Ongoing clinical vigilance might be required when patients are discharged from follow-up, especially when there is a family history of delayed puberty or IHH because oligospermia and reduced bone mineralization can occur with time.