The E3 Ubiquitin Ligase CRL4 Regulates Proliferation and Progression Through Meiosis in Chinese Mitten CrabEriocheir sinensis1

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The Cullin-RING E3s are multisubunit ubiquitin ligases composed of a scaffold protein known as Cullin, a RING finger protein that regulates diverse cellular pathways; however, their contribution to male gonad development, especially the spermatogenesis of the Chinese mitten crab (Eriocheir sinensis), is not well understood. We identified five evolutionarily conserved Cullins from the transcriptome and genome ofE. sinensisthat are potentially involved in regulating male gonad development. The aim of the current study was to determine the mechanisms of Cullin4's effects on spermatogenesis. We observed that Cullin4, p53, and proliferating cell nuclear antigen had a specific expression and localization in primary spermatocytes. We also investigated the accumulation of Cullin substrates by treatment with inhibitor of NEDD8-activating enzyme MLN4924 in vitro. Cell cycle inhibitors p27 and p21 accumulated significantly after 24 and 36 h, respectively. We speculated that p53-mediated spontaneous germ cell apoptosis acts as a quality control mechanism to eliminate defective germ cells and that the Cullin4 complex maintains p53, p21, and p27 homeostasis in primary spermatocytes to regulate spermatogenesis ofE. sinensis. Given its widespread evolutionary conservation, Cullin4 may regulate germ line development similarly in other organisms.

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