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Volume 17, Issue 5 (September 2015) 17, 737–741; 10.4103/1008-682X.155542

The role of Dicer1 in the male reproductive tract

Ida Björkgren, Petra Sipilä

1Department of Physiology, Institute of Biomedicine, University of Turku, Turku, Finland; 2Turku Doctoral Programme of Biomedical Sciences, Turku, Finland; 3Department of Physiology, Institute of Biomedicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland; 4Laboratory Animal Centre, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

Correspondence: Dr. P Sipilä (petra.sipila@helsinki.fi)



Dicer1 is an RNase III enzyme necessary for microRNA (miRNA) biogenesis, as it cleaves pre-miRNAs into mature miRNAs. miRNAs are important regulators of gene expression. In recent years, several miRNA-independent roles of Dicer1 have been identified. They include the production of endogenous small interfering RNAs, detoxifying retrotransposon-derived transcripts, and binding to new targets; messenger RNAs and long noncoding RNAs. Further, in this review, the functional significance of Dicer1 in the male reproductive tract is discussed. Conditional Dicer1 knock-out mouse models have demonstrated a requisite role for Dicer in male fertility. Deletion of Dicer1 from somatic or germ cells in the testis cause spermatogenic problems rendering male mice infertile. The lack of Dicer1 in the proximal epididymis causes dedifferentiation of the epithelium, with unbalanced sex steroid receptor expression, defects in epithelial lipid homeostasis, and subsequent male infertility. In addition, Dicer1 ablation from the prostate leads to increased apoptosis of the differentiated luminal cells, followed by epithelial hypotrophy of the ventral prostate. However, further studies are needed to clarify which functions of Dicer1 are responsible for the observed phenotypes in the male reproductive tract.

Keywords: Dicer 1; epididymis; prostate; seminal vesicle; testis; vas deferens

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Asian Journal of Andrology CN 31-1795/R ISSN 1008-682X  Copyright © 2023  Shanghai Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences.  All rights reserved.