The mitosis-meiosis transition is essential for spermatogenesis. Specific and timely downregulation of the transcription factor DMRT1, and consequent induction of Stra8 expression, is required for this process in mammals, but the molecular mechanism has remained unclear. Here, we show that β-TrCP, the substrate recognition component of an E3 ubiquitin ligase complex, targets DMRT1 for degradation and thereby controls the mitosis-meiosis transition in mouse male germ cells. Conditional inactivation of β-TrCP2 in male germ cells of β-TrCP1 knockout mice resulted in sterility due to a lack of mature sperm. The β-TrCP-deficient male germ cells did not enter meiosis, but instead underwent apoptosis. The induction of Stra8 expression was also attenuated in association with the accumulation of DMRT1 at the Stra8 promoter in β-TrCP-deficient testes. DMRT1 contains a consensus β-TrCP degron sequence that was found to bind β-TrCP. Overexpression of β-TrCP induced the ubiquitylation and degradation of DMRT1. Heterozygous deletion of Dmrt1 in β-TrCP-deficient spermatogonia increased meiotic cells with a concomitant reduction of apoptosis. Collectively, our data indicate that β-TrCP regulates the transition from mitosis to meiosis in male germ cells by targeting DMRT1 for degradation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by funding from Japan Society for the Promotion of Science KAKENHI (19057001, 20370076, 21870006, 25891003, 26840059, 17K14955) and the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) (5 RO1 GM59152). Deposited in PMC for release after 12 months.
- Ubiquitin ligase
- Ubiquitinproteasome system
- β-TrCP1 (BTRC)
- β-TrCP2 (Fbxw11)