Phagocytic clearance of apoptotic germ cells by Sertoli cells is vital for germ cell development and differentiation. Here, using a tissue-specific miRNA transgenic mouse model, we show that interaction between miR-471-5p and autophagy member proteins regulates clearance of apoptotic germ cells via LC3-associated phagocytosis (LAP). Transgenic mice expressing miR-471-5p in Sertoli cells show increased germ cell apoptosis and compromised male fertility. Those effects are due to defective engulfment and impaired LAP-mediated clearance of apoptotic germ cells as miR-471-5p transgenic mice show lower levels of Dock180, LC3, Atg12, Becn1, Rab5 and Rubicon in Sertoli cells. Our results reveal that Dock180 interacts with autophagy member proteins to constitute a functional LC3-dependent phagocytic complex. We find that androgen regulates Sertoli cell phagocytosis by controlling expression of miR-471-5p and its target proteins. These findings suggest that recruitment of autophagy machinery is essential for efficient clearance of apoptotic germ cells by Sertoli cells using LAP.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)