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Andrology. 2019 Mar;7(2):220-227. doi: 10.1111/andr.12573. Epub 2018 Dec 21.

Expressions of miR-525-3p and its target gene SEMG1 in the spermatozoa of patients with asthenozoospermia.

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Department of Urology, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China.
Department of Laboratory Medicine, Nanfang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China.



Semenogelin 1 (SEMG1) is an important secretory protein in spermatozoa involved in the formation of a gel matrix encasing ejaculated spermatozoa. Previous studies show that the SEMG1 gene is highly expressed in spermatozoa from patients with asthenozoospermia (AZS); however, the underlying molecular mechanisms are not yet clear.


To study the molecular mechanism of high expression of SEMG1 gene and its potential roles in AZS.


Western blot and real-time PCR were used to detect the expression levels of SEMG1 protein and mRNA in the ejaculated spermatozoa from normozoospermic males and AZS patients. Bioinformatics analysis was used to predict miRNAs targeting for SEMG1 3'-untranslated region detection of the expression levels of all the candidate miRNAs in ejaculatory spermatozoa in AZS patients or normozoospermic volunteers. Luciferase reporter assays were performed to confirm it can directly bind to SEMG1. Correlation of miR-525-3p and SEMG1 mRNA expression with clinical sperm parameters were also analyzed. Finally, we conducted a follow-up study of reproductive history about all the subjects.


SEMG1 mRNA and protein level were significantly higher in AZS patients compared to that in normozoospermic volunteers (p < 0.001). Subsequently, microRNA-525-3p (miR-525-3p) which was predicted as a candidate regulator of SEMG1 was found lower expressed in ejaculatory spermatozoa in AZS patients (p = 0.0074). Luciferase experiment revealed that microRNA-525-3p could directly target SEMG1 3'-untranslated region and suppress its expression. Importantly, our retrospective follow-up study showed that both low miR-525-3p expression and high SEMG1 expression level was significantly associated with low progressive sperm motility, abnormal sperm morphology, and infertility.


The elevated expression of SEMG1 and reduced expression of miR-525-3p are associated with AZS and male infertility. Our study provides a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of male infertility or for male contraception.


SEMG1 ; asthenozoospermia; male infertility; miR-525-3p


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