Key Laboratory of Swine Genetics and Breeding of Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, and Key Lab of Agricultural Animal Genetics, Breeding and Reproduction of Ministry of Education, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China. Electronic address: [Email]
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone 2 receptor (GnRHR2) together with its cognate ligand involves in regulating reproductive behavior. However, little is known concerning the effect of transcription factor steroidogenic factor1 (SF-1) regulation on porcine GnRHR2 gene expression and GnRH2 regulation mechanism in testosterone secretion through GnRHR2. Our study demonstrated that GnRHR2 transcription levels were high in porcine testis. Immunohistochemistry analyses showed that GnRHR2 immunoreactivity was strong in the Leydig cells in boar testes. Two SF-1 binding sites were predicted in GnRHR2 promoter and the second site (-159/-149) was considered to be important for GnRHR2 promoter activity through site-directed mutagenesis. The binding of SF-1 to GnRHR2 promoter was confirmed by electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSA) and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP). Overexpression and knockdown experiments revealed that SF-1 could up-regulate porcine GnRHR2 expression. DNA methylation of GnRHR2 promoter CpG island also specifically regulated GnRHR2 expression. Meanwhile, our study also demonstrated GnRH2 treatment promoted the expression of SF-1 and steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR), and that this treatment stimulated cAMP responsive element binding protein (CREB) phosphorylation, regulated the expression of GnRHR2, especially that of GnRHR2-X1, and promoted testosterone secretion in porcine Leydig cells. We speculated that testosterone secretion mediated by GnRH2 and GnRHR2 (mainly GnRHR2-X1) was regulated by phosphorylated CREB interacting with SF-1 to control StAR expression. Taken together, the present study indicates that SF-1 and GnRH2 are the essential regulatory factors for GnRHR2 expression. This study also explores the regulation mechanism of testosterone secretion mediated by GnRH2 and GnRHR2 in porcine Leydig cells.