A1 Journal article – refereed
Androgen receptor SUMOylation regulates bone mass in male mice

List of Authors: Jianyao Wu, Sofia Movérare-Skrtic, Fu-Ping Zhang, Antti Koskela, Juha Tuukkanen, Jorma J. Palvimo, Petra Sipilä, Matti Poutanen, Claes Ohlsson
Publisher: Elsevier Ireland Ltd
Publication year: 2019
Journal: Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology
Journal name in source: Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology
Volume number: 479
Number of pages: 6
ISSN: 0303-7207
eISSN: 1872-8057


The crucial effects of androgens on the male skeleton are at least partly mediated via the androgen receptor (AR). In addition to hormone binding, the AR activity is regulated by post-translational modifications, including SUMOylation. SUMOylation is a reversible modification in which Small Ubiquitin-related MOdifier proteins (SUMOs) are attached to the AR and thereby regulate the activity of the AR and change its interactions with other proteins.

To elucidate the importance of SUMOylation of AR for male bone metabolism, we used a mouse model devoid of the two AR SUMOylation sites (ARSUM−; K381R and K500R are substituted). Six-month-old male ARSUM− mice displayed significantly reduced trabecular bone volume fraction in the distal metaphyseal region of femur compared with wild type (WT) mice (BV/TV, −19.1 ± 4.9%, P < 0.05). The number of osteoblasts per bone perimeter was substantially reduced (−60.5 ± 7.2%, P < 0.001) while no significant effect was observed on the number of osteoclasts in the trabecular bone of male ARSUM− mice. Dynamic histomorphometric analysis of trabecular bone revealed a reduced bone formation rate (−32.6 ± 7.4%, P < 0.05) as a result of reduced mineralizing surface per bone surface in ARSUM− mice compared with WT mice (−24.3 ± 3.6%, P < 0.001). Furthermore, cortical bone thickness in the diaphyseal region of femur was reduced in male ARSUM− mice compared with WT mice (−7.3 ± 2.0%, P < 0.05).

In conclusion, mice devoid of AR SUMOylation have reduced trabecular bone mass as a result of reduced bone formation. We propose that therapies enhancing AR SUMOylation might result in bone-specific anabolic effects with minimal adverse effects in other tissues.

Downloadable publication

This is an electronic reprint of the original article.
This reprint may differ from the original in pagination and typographic detail. Please cite the original version.

Last updated on 2019-09-07 at 18:02