mTORC1/rpS6 and p-FAK-Y407 signaling regulate spermatogenesis: Insights from studies of the adjudin pharmaceutical/toxicant model

Lingling Wang, Linxi Li, Xiaolong Wu, Chris K C Wong, Adolfo Perrotta, Bruno Silvestrini, Fei Sun*, C. Yan Cheng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


In rodents and humans, the major cellular events at spermatogenesis include self-renewal of spermatogonial stem cells and undifferentiated spermatogonia via mitosis, commitment of spermatogonia to differentiation and transformation to spermatocytes, meiosis, spermiogenesis, and the release of spermatozoa at spermiation. While details of the morphological changes during these cellular events have been delineated, knowledge gap exists between the morphological changes in the seminiferous epithelium and the underlying molecular mechanism(s) that regulate these cellular events. Even though many of the regulatory proteins and biomolecules that modulate spermatogenesis are known based on studies using genetic models, the underlying regulatory mechanism(s), in particular signaling pathways/proteins, remain unexplored since much of the information regarding the signaling regulation is unknown. Studies in the past decade, however, have unequivocally demonstrated that the testis is using several signaling proteins and/or pathways to regulate multiple cellular events to modulate spermatogenesis. These include mTORC1/rpS6/Akt1/2 and p-FAK-Y407. While selective inhibitors and/or agonists and antagonists are available to examine some of these signaling proteins, their use have limitations due to their specificities and also potential systemic cytotoxicity. On the other hand, the use of genetic models has had profound implications for our understanding of the molecular regulation of spermatogenesis, and these knockout (null) models have also revealed the factors that are critical for spermatogenesis. Nonetheless, additional studies using in vitro and in vivo models are necessary to unravel the signaling pathways involved in regulating seminiferous epithelial cycle. Emerging data from studies, such as the use of the adjudin pharmaceutical/toxicant model, have illustrated that this non-hormonal male contraceptive drug is utilizing specific signaling pathways/proteins to induce specific defects in spermatogenesis, yielding mechanistic insights on the regulation of spermatogenesis. We sought to review these recent data in this article, highlighting an interesting approach that can be considered for future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-62
Number of pages10
JournalSeminars in Cell and Developmental Biology
Early online date15 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

User-Defined Keywords

  • Adjudin
  • Cytoskeletons
  • F-actin
  • FAK
  • Microtubules
  • mTORC1
  • rpS6
  • Sertoli cells
  • Signaling proteins
  • Spermatogenesis
  • Testis


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