Int J Biol Sci 2015; 11(12):1447-1457. doi:10.7150/ijbs.13795 This issue

Research Paper

Knockout of the Histone Demethylase Kdm3b Decreases Spermatogenesis and Impairs Male Sexual Behaviors

Zhaoliang Liu1, 2, Mario G. Oyola1, Suoling Zhou1, Xian Chen1, Lan Liao1, Jean Ching-Yi Tien1, Shailaja K. Mani1, Jianming Xu1, 3 ✉

1. Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA.
2. Institute of Cancer Research, Harbin Medical University, Harbin, China.
3. Institute for Cancer Medicine and College of Basic Medical Sciences, Sichuan Medical University, Luzhou, Sichuan, China

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) License. See for full terms and conditions.
Liu Z, Oyola MG, Zhou S, Chen X, Liao L, Tien JCY, Mani SK, Xu J. Knockout of the Histone Demethylase Kdm3b Decreases Spermatogenesis and Impairs Male Sexual Behaviors. Int J Biol Sci 2015; 11(12):1447-1457. doi:10.7150/ijbs.13795. Available from

File import instruction


Graphic abstract

Kdm3b is a JmjC domain-containing histone H3 (H3) demethylase and its physiological functions are largely unknown. In this study, we found that Kdm3b protein is highly expressed in multiple cell types in the mouse testes, including Leydig cells, Sertoli cells, spermatogonia and spermatocytes at different differentiation stages. We also observed Kdm3b protein in the epithelial cells of the caput epididymis, prostate and seminal vesicle. Breeding tests revealed that the number of pups produced by the breeding pairs with Kdm3b knockout (Kdm3bKO) males and wild type (WT) females was reduced 68% because of the decreased number of litters when compared with the breeding pairs with WT males and females. Further analysis demonstrated that Kdm3bKO male mice produced 44% fewer number of mature sperm in their cauda epididymides, displaying significantly reduced sperm motility. No significant differences in the circulating concentration of testosterone and the expression levels of androgen receptor and its representative target genes in the testis were observed. However, the circulating levels of 17β-estradiol, a modulator of sperm maturation and male sexual behaviors, was markedly reduced in Kdm3bKO male mice. Strikingly, abrogation of Kdm3b in male mice significantly increased the latencies to mount, intromit and ejaculate and decreased the number of mounts and intromissions, largely due to their loss of interest in female odors. These findings indicate that Kdm3b is required for normal spermatogenesis and sexual behaviors in male mice.

Keywords: Kdm3b, knockout mice, testis, reproductive function, sexual behavior