Characterization of spermatogonial stem cells lacking intercellular bridges and genetic replacement of a mutation in spermatogonial stem cells

Naoki Iwamori, Tokuko Iwamori, Martin M. Matzuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Stem cells have a potential of gene therapy for regenerative medicine. Among various stem cells, spermatogonial stem cells have a unique characteristic in which neighboring cells can be connected by intercellular bridges. However, the roles of intercellular bridges for stem cell self-renewal, differentiation, and proliferation remain to be elucidated. Here, we show not only the characteristics of testis-expressed gene 14 (TEX14) null spermatogonial stem cells lacking intercellular bridges but also a trial application of genetic correction of a mutation in spermatogonial stem cells as a model for future gene therapy. In TEX14 null testes, some genes important for undifferentiated spermatogonia as well as some differentiation-related genes were activated. TEX14 null spermatogonial stem cells, surprisingly, could form chain-like structures even though they do not form stable intercellular bridges. TEX14 null spermatogonial stem cells in culture possessed both characteristics of undifferentiated and differentiated spermatogonia. Long-term culture of TEX14 null spermatogonial stem cells could not be established likely secondary to up-regulation of CDK4 inhibitors and down-regulation of cyclin E. These results suggest that intercellular bridges are essential for both maintenance of spermatogonial stem cells and their proliferation. Lastly, a mutation in Tex14+/- spermatogonial stem cells was successfully replaced by homologous recombination in vitro. Our study provides a therapeutic potential of spermatogonial stem cells for reproductive medicine if they can be cultured long-term.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere38914
JournalPloS one
Volume7
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 13 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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