Cigarette smoking exposure alters pebp1 DNA methylation and protein profile involved in MAPK signaling pathway in mice testis

Wangjie Xu, Peng Fang, Zijue Zhu, Jingbo Dai, Dongsheng Nie, Zhong Chen, Qiaojing Qin, Lianyun Wang, Zhaoxia Wang, Zhongdong Qiao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Many studies have addressed the role of cigarette smoking on semen quality, but the exact mechanisms remain inconclusive. To evaluate the detrimental effects of smoking on the spermatogenesis process, we initially screened and investigated 31 differentially expressed proteins extracted from the testes of mice exposed daily to cigarette smoke using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-time of flight-mass spectrometry analysis. Data mining analysis showed that these 31 proteins were categorized into five functional clustering groups: metabolic process, cell growth and/or maintenance, RNA and protein processing, stress response, and spermatogenesis. Additionally, 23 of 31 proteins were involved in a main pathway network, including Pkc (s), ERK1/2, Akt, and NF-kappaB, which are known to be involved in cell communication, proliferation, and differentiation. Interestingly, among the 31 proteins, a spermatogenesis- associated protein, phosphatidylethanolaminebinding protein 1 (PEBP1), was especially expressed in serial sections of spermatids of spermiogenesis and interacted with ERKs. The bisulfite sequencing result showed four CpGs near the Pebp1 transcriptional start site were largely methylated in the treated group. A 5-aza-20-deoxycytidine treatment on GC-1 spg cells reversed the hypermethylation status and elevated both Pebp1 mRNA and protein expression levels. ERK1/2 phosphorylation levels were also increased with upregulation of Pebp1 expression in GC-1 spg cells. In conclusion, protein profile in testes could be altered by cigarette smoking. Moreover, we also suggest that epigenetic Pebp1 inactivation may affect activation of ERK, and it could impair spermatogenesis of mice. Our data could provide further insight into the mechanisms of spermatogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number142
JournalBiology of reproduction
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2013


  • Cigarette smoking
  • DNA methylation
  • Male infertility
  • MAPK
  • PEBP1
  • Proteomics
  • Spermatogenesis
  • Testis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Cell Biology


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