Molecular mechanisms of insulin-like growth factor-I mediated regulation of the steroidogenic acute regulatory protein in mouse leydig cells

Pulak R. Manna, Syam P. Chandrala, Steven R. King, Youngah Jo, Raymond Counis, Ilpo T. Huhtaniemi, Douglas M. Stocco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


Growth factors are known to play diverse roles in steroidogenesis, a process regulated by the mitochondrial steroidogenic acute regulatory (StAR) protein. The mechanism of action of one such growth factor, IGF-I, was investigated in mouse Leydig tumor (mLTC-1) cells to determine its potential role in the regulation of StAR expression. mLTC-1 cells treated with IGF-I demonstrated temporal and concentration-dependent increases in StAR expression and steroid synthesis. However, IGF-I had no effect on cytochrome P450 sidechain cleavage or 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase protein levels. IGF-I was capable of augmenting N,O′-dibutyrl-cAMP-stimulated steroidogenic responsiveness in these cells. The steroidogenic potential of IGF-I was also confirmed in primary cultures of isolated mouse Leydig cells. IGF-I increased phosphorylation of ERK1/2, an event inhibited by the MAPK/ERK inhibitors, PD98059 and U0126. Interestingly, inhibition of ERKactivity enhanced IGF-I-mediated StAR protein expression, but phosphorylation of StAR was undetectable, an observation in contrast to that seen with N,O′-dibutyrl- cAMP signaling. Further studies demonstrated that these events were tightly correlated with the expression of dosage-sensitive sex reversal, adrenal hypoplasia congenita, critical region on the X chromosome, gene 1 and scavenger receptor class B type 1. Whereas both protein kinase A and protein kinase C signaling were involved in the IGF-I-mediated steroidogenic response, the majority of the effects of IGF-I were found to be mediated by the protein kinase C pathway. Transcriptional activation of the StAR gene by IGF-I was influenced by several transcription factors, its upregulation being dependent on phosphorylation of the cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) and the activator protein 1 family member, c-Jun. Conversely, StAR gene transcription was markedly inhibited by expression of nonphosphorylatable CREB (Ser 133Ala), dominant negative A-CREB, and dominant negative c-Jun (TAM-67) mutants. Collectively, the present studies identify molecular events in IGF-I signaling that may influence testicular growth, development, and the Leydig cell steroidogenic machinery through autocrine/paracrine regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)362-378
Number of pages17
JournalMolecular Endocrinology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology


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