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R Hosseini, P Marsh, J Pizzey, L Leonard, S Ruddy, S Bains, and K Dudley


Zfp-37 is a zinc finger protein gene expressed in male germ cells. The cDNA detected two transcripts on Northern blots of testis RNA, with expression first detected at around day 19. To establish the pattern of expression of the protein we have raised antibodies to ZFP-37 and used them on thin sections of testis and on Western blots. On Western blots the antibody detected two proteins exclusively in testis extracts, confirming the previous mRNA expression data. A time-course study revealed that the larger of the two proteins appears at about day 22 but the smaller one is not detected until day 34. Analysis of the expression of these two proteins in purified germ cell preparations revealed that the smaller protein is only detectable in the elongating spermatids or residual bodies. Data from thin sections showed that most, but not all, of the protein recognized by the antibody is in the nucleus, a result further confirmed by Western blotting. These results are discussed in the light of the possible role of this protein in regulating spermatogenesis.

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Michael A Gentile, Pascale V Nantermet, Robert L Vogel, Robert Phillips, Daniel Holder, Paul Hodor, Chun Cheng, Hongyue Dai, Leonard P Freedman, and William J Ray

Androgens promote anabolism in the musculoskeletal system while generally repressing adiposity, leading to lean body composition. Circulating androgens decline with age, contributing to frailty, osteoporosis, and obesity; however, the mechanisms by which androgens modulate body composition are largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate that aged castrated rats develop increased fat mass, reduced muscle mass and strength, and lower bone mass. Treatment with testosterone or 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT) reverses the effects on muscle and adipose tissues while only aromatizable testosterone increased bone mass. During the first week, DHT transiently increased soleus muscle nuclear density and induced expression of IGF1 and its splice variant mechano growth factor (MGF) without early regulation of the myogenic factors MyoD, myogenin, monocyte nuclear factor, or myostatin. A genome-wide microarray screen was also performed to identify potential pro-myogenic genes that respond to androgen receptor activation in vivo within 24 h. Of 24 000 genes examined, 70 candidate genes were identified whose functions suggest initiation of remodeling and regeneration, including the type II muscle genes for myosin heavy chain type II and parvalbumin and the chemokine monocyte chemoattractant protein-1. Interestingly, Axin and Axin2, negative regulators of β-catenin, were repressed, indicating modulation of the β-catenin pathway. DHT increased total levels of β-catenin protein, which accumulated in nuclei in vivo. Likewise, treatment of C2C12 myoblasts with both IGF1Ea and MGF C-terminal peptide increased nuclear β-catenin in vitro. Thus, we propose that androgenic anabolism involves early downregulation of Axin and induction of IGF1, leading to nuclear accumulation of β-catenin, a pro-myogenic, anti-adipogenic stem cell regulatory factor.