- 1 Event Title
- 2 Key Event Overview
- 3 How this Key Event works
- 4 How it is Measured or Detected
- 5 Evidence Supporting Taxonomic Applicability
- 6 Evidence for Chemical Initiation of this Molecular Initiating Event
- 7 References
Key Event Overview
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AOPs Including This Key Event
|AOP Name||Event Type||Essentiality|
|Androgen receptor agonism leading to reproductive dysfunction||MIE||Strong|
The following are chemical initiators that operate directly through this Event:
|fathead minnow||Pimephales promelas||Very Strong||NCBI|
Level of Biological Organization
How this Key Event works
Site of action: The molecular site of action is the ligand binding domain of the AR. The cellular site of action for the molecular initiating event is undefined.
Responses at the macromolecular level: Binding of a ligand, including xenobiotics that act as AR agonists, to the cytosolic AR mediates a conformational shift that facilitates dissociation from accompanying heat shock proteins and dimerization with another AR (Prescott and Coetzee 2006; Claessens et al. 2008; Centenera et al. 2008). Homodimerization unveils a nuclear localization sequence, allowing the AR-ligand complex to translocate to the nucleus and bind to androgen-response elements (AREs) (Claessens et al. 2008; Cutress et al. 2008). This elicits recruitment of additional transcription factors and transcriptional activation of androgen-responsive genes (Heemers and Tindall 2007).
How it is Measured or Detected
Methods that have been previously reviewed and approved by a recognized authority should be included in the Overview section above. All other methods, including those well established in the published literature, should be described here. Consider the following criteria when describing each method: 1. Is the assay fit for purpose? 2. Is the assay directly or indirectly (i.e. a surrogate) related to a key event relevant to the final adverse effect in question? 3. Is the assay repeatable? 4. Is the assay reproducible?
Measurement/detection: Binding to the androgen receptor can be directly measured in cell free systems based on displacement of a radio-labeled standard (generally testosterone or DHT) in a competitive binding assay (e.g., (Olsson et al. 2005; Sperry and Thomas 1999; Wilson et al. 2007; Tilley et al. 1989; Kim et al. 2010). However, cell based transcriptional activation assays are typically required to differentiate agonists from antagonists, in vitro. A number of reporter gene assays have been developed and used to screen chemicals for AR agonist and/or antagonist activity (e.g., (Wilson et al. 2002; van der Burg et al. 2010; Mak et al. 1999; Araki et al. 2005). Expression of androgen responsive proteins like spiggin in primary cell cultures has also been used to detect AR agonist activity (Jolly et al. 2006).
In fish, phenotypic masculinization of females has frequently been used as an indirect measurement of in vivo androgen receptor agonism. For example, development of nuptial tubercles, a dorsal fatpad, and a characteristic banding pattern has been observed in female fathead minnows exposed to androgen agonists (Ankley et al. 2003; Jensen et al. 2006; Ankley et al. 2010; LaLone et al. 2013). Likewise, anal fin elongation in female western mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) has similarly been viewed as evidence of AR activation (Raut et al. 2011; Sone et al. 2005).
Measures of AR agonism have been included in high throughput screening programs, such as US EPA's Toxcast program. Toxcast assays relevant for screening chemicals for their ability to bind and/or activate the AR include:
- ATG_AR_TRANS A cell based assay that can differentiate agonism from antagonism
- NVS_NR_hAR A cell free assay using recombinant human AR. Can detect binding, but cannot distinguish agonism from antagonism.
- NVS_NR_rAR A cell free assay using recombinant rat AR. Can detect binding, but cannot distinguish agonism from antagonism.
- OT_AR_ARELUC_AG_1440 A cell based assay that measures expression of a reporter gene under control of androgen-responsive elements. Can distinguish agonism from antagonism.
- Tox21_AR_BLA_Agonist_ratio A cell based assay with an inducible reporter. Can distinguish agonists from antagonists.
- Tox21_AR_LUC_MDAKB2_agonist A cell based assay with an inducible reporter. Can distinguish agonists from antagonists.
Evidence Supporting Taxonomic Applicability
Taxonomic applicability: Androgen receptor orthologs are primarily limited to vertebrates (Baker 1997; Thornton 2001; Eick and Thornton 2011; Markov and Laudet 2011). Therefore, this MIE would generally be viewed as relevant to vertebrates, but not necessarily invertebrates.
Evidence for Chemical Initiation of this Molecular Initiating Event
Characterization of chemical properties: Androgen receptor binding chemicals can be grouped into two broad structural domains, steroidal and non-steroidal (Yin et al. 2003). Steroidal androgens consist primarily of testosterone and its derivatives (Yin et al. 2003). Many of the non-steroidal AR binding chemicals studied are derivatives of well known non-steroidal AR antagonists like bicalutamide, hydroxyflutamide, and nilutamide (Yin et al. 2003). Nonetheless, a number of QSARs and SARs that consider AR binding of both these pharmaceutical agents as well as environmental chemicals have been developed (Waller et al. 1996; Serafimova et al. 2002; Todorov et al. 2011; Hong et al. 2003; Bohl et al. 2004). However, it has been shown that very minor structural differences can dramatically impact function as either an agonist or antagonist (Yin et al. 2003; Bohl et al. 2004; Norris et al. 2009), making it difficult at present to predict agonist versus antagonist activity based on chemical structure alone.
In vivo considerations: A variety of steroidal androgens can be converted to estrogens in vitro through the action of cytochrome P450 19 (aromatase). Structures subject to aromatization may behave in vivo as estrogens despite exhibiting potent androgen receptor agonism in vitro.
- Prescott J, Coetzee GA. 2006. Molecular chaperones throughout the life cycle of the androgen receptor. Cancer letters 231(1): 12-19.
- Claessens F, Denayer S, Van Tilborgh N, Kerkhofs S, Helsen C, Haelens A. 2008. Diverse roles of androgen receptor (AR) domains in AR-mediated signaling. Nuclear receptor signaling 6: e008.
- Centenera MM, Harris JM, Tilley WD, Butler LM. 2008. The contribution of different androgen receptor domains to receptor dimerization and signaling. Molecular endocrinology 22(11): 2373-2382.
- Cutress ML, Whitaker HC, Mills IG, Stewart M, Neal DE. 2008. Structural basis for the nuclear import of the human androgen receptor. Journal of cell science 121(Pt 7): 957-968.
- Yin D, He Y, Perera MA, Hong SS, Marhefka C, Stourman N, et al. 2003. Key structural features of nonsteroidal ligands for binding and activation of the androgen receptor. Molecular pharmacology 63(1): 211-223.
- Waller CL, Juma BW, Gray EJ, Kelce WR. 1996. Three-dimensional quantitative structure-activity relationships for androgen receptor ligands. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacolgy 137: 219-227.
- Serafimova R, Walker J, Mekenyan O. 2002. Androgen receptor binding affinity of pesticide "active" formulation ingredients. QSAR evaluation by COREPA method. SAR and QSAR in environmental research 13(1): 127-134.
- Todorov M, Mombelli E, Ait-Aissa S, Mekenyan O. 2011. Androgen receptor binding affinity: a QSAR evaluation. SAR and QSAR in environmental research 22(3): 265-291.
- Hong H, Fang H, Xie Q, Perkins R, Sheehan DM, Tong W. 2003. Comparative molecular field analysis (CoMFA) model using a large diverse set of natural, synthetic and environmental chemicals for binding to the androgen receptor. SAR and QSAR in environmental research 14(5-6): 373-388.
- Bohl CE, Chang C, Mohler ML, Chen J, Miller DD, Swaan PW, et al. 2004. A ligand-based approach to identify quantitative structure-activity relationships for the androgen receptor. Journal of medicinal chemistry 47(15): 3765-3776.
- Norris JD, Joseph JD, Sherk AB, Juzumiene D, Turnbull PS, Rafferty SW, et al. 2009. Differential presentation of protein interaction surfaces on the androgen receptor defines the pharmacological actions of bound ligands. Chemistry & biology 16(4): 452-460.
- Olsson P-E, Berg A, von Hofsten J, Grahn B, Hellqvist A, Larsson A, et al. 2005. Molecular cloning and characterization of a nuclear androgen receptor activated by 11-ketotestosterone. Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology 3: 1-17.
- Sperry TS, Thomas P. 1999. Identification of two nuclear androgen receptors in kelp bass (Paralabrax clathratus) and their binding affinities for xenobiotics: comparison with Atlantic croaker (Micropogonias undulatus) androgen receptors. Biology of reproduction 61(4): 1152-1161.
- Wilson VS, Cardon MC, Gray LE, Jr., Hartig PC. 2007. Competitive binding comparison of endocrine-disrupting compounds to recombinant androgen receptor from fathead minnow, rainbow trout, and human. Environmental toxicology and chemistry / SETAC 26(9): 1793-1802.
- Tilley WD, Marcelli M, Wilson JD, McPhaul MJ. 1989. Characterization and expression of a cDNA encoding the human androgen receptor. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 86(1): 327-331.
- Kim TS, Yoon CY, Jung KK, Kim SS, Kang IH, Baek JH, et al. 2010. In vitro study of Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) endocrine disruptor screening and testing methods- establishment of a recombinant rat androgen receptor (rrAR) binding assay. The Journal of toxicological sciences 35(2): 239-243.
- Wilson VS, Bobseine K, Lambright CR, Gray LE. 2002. A novel cell line, MDA-kb2, that stably expresses an androgen- and glucocorticoid-responsive reporter for the detection of hormone receptor agonists and antagonists. Toxicological Sciences 66: 69-81.
- van der Burg B, Winter R, Man HY, Vangenechten C, Berckmans P, Weimer M, et al. 2010. Optimization and prevalidation of the in vitro AR CALUX method to test androgenic and antiandrogenic activity of compounds. Reproductive toxicology 30(1): 18-24.
- Mak P, Cruz FD, Chen S. 1999. A yeast screen system for aromatase inhibitors and ligands for androgen receptor: yeast cells transformed with aromatase and androgen receptor. Environmental health perspectives 107(11): 855-860.
- Araki N, Ohno K, Nakai M, Takeyoshi M, Iida M. 2005. Screening for androgen receptor activities in 253 industrial chemicals by in vitro reporter gene assays using AR-EcoScreen cells. Toxicology in vitro : an international journal published in association with BIBRA 19(6): 831-842.
- Jolly C, Katsiadaki I, Le Belle N, Mayer I, Dufour S. 2006. Development of a stickleback kidney cell culture assay for the screening of androgenic and anti-androgenic endocrine disrupters. Aquatic toxicology 79(2): 158-166.
- Baker ME. 1997. Steroid receptor phylogeny and vertebrate origins. Molecular and cellular endocrinology 135(2): 101-107.
- Thornton JW. 2001. Evolution of vertebrate steroid receptors from an ancestral estrogen receptor by ligand exploitation and serial genome expansions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 98(10): 5671-5676.
- Eick GN, Thornton JW. 2011. Evolution of steroid receptors from an estrogen-sensitive ancestral receptor. Molecular and cellular endocrinology 334(1-2): 31-38.
- Markov GV, Laudet V. 2011. Origin and evolution of the ligand-binding ability of nuclear receptors. Molecular and cellular endocrinology 334(1-2): 21-30.
- Sone K, Hinago M, Itamoto M, Katsu Y, Watanabe H, Urushitani H, Tooi O, Guillette LJ Jr, Iguchi T. Effects of an androgenic growth promoter 17beta-trenbolone on masculinization of Mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis affinis). Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2005 Sep 1;143(2):151-60. Epub 2005 Apr 13. PubMed PMID: 16061073.
- Stanko JP, Angus RA. In vivo assessment of the capacity of androstenedione to masculinize female mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) exposed through dietary and static renewal methods. Environ Toxicol Chem. 2007 May;26(5):920-6. PubMed PMID: 17521138.
- LaLone CA, Villeneuve DL, Cavallin JE, Kahl MD, Durhan EJ, Makynen EA, Jensen KM, Stevens KE, Severson MN, Blanksma CA, Flynn KM, Hartig PC, Woodard JS, Berninger JP, Norberg-King TJ, Johnson RD, Ankley GT. Cross-species sensitivity to a novel androgen receptor agonist of potential environmental concern, spironolactone. Environ Toxicol Chem. 2013 Nov;32(11):2528-41. doi: 10.1002/etc.2330. Epub 2013 Sep 6. PubMed PMID: 23881739.
- Jensen KM, Makynen EA, Kahl MD, Ankley GT. Effects of the feedlot contaminant 17alpha-trenbolone on reproductive endocrinology of the fathead minnow. Environ Sci Technol. 2006 May 1;40(9):3112-7. PubMed PMID: 16719119.
- Ankley GT, Jensen KM, Kahl MD, Durhan EJ, Makynen EA, Cavallin JE, Martinović D, Wehmas LC, Mueller ND, Villeneuve DL. Use of chemical mixtures to differentiate mechanisms of endocrine action in a small fish model. Aquat Toxicol. 2010 Sep 1;99(3):389-96. doi: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2010.05.020. Epub 2010 Jun 4. PubMed PMID: 20573408.
- Ankley GT, Jensen KM, Makynen EA, Kahl MD, Korte JJ, Hornung MW, Henry TR, Denny JS, Leino RL, Wilson VS, Cardon MC, Hartig PC, Gray LE. Effects of the androgenic growth promoter 17-beta-trenbolone on fecundity and reproductive endocrinology of the fathead minnow. Environ Toxicol Chem. 2003 Jun;22(6):1350-60. PubMed PMID: 12785594.
- Ankley GT, Gray LE. Cross-species conservation of endocrine pathways: a critical analysis of tier 1 fish and rat screening assays with 12 model chemicals. Environ Toxicol Chem. 2013 Apr;32(5):1084-7. doi: 10.1002/etc.2151. Epub 2013 Mar 19. PubMed PMID: 23401061.