Evaluation of candidate spermatogonial markers ID4 and GPR125 in testes of adult human cadaveric organ donors.
ABSTRACT: The optimal markers for human spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) are not known. Among the genes recently linked to SSCs in mice and other animals are the basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor ID4 and the orphan G-protein-coupled receptor GPR125. While ID4 and GPR125 are considered putative markers for SSCs, they have not been evaluated for coexpression in human tissue. Furthermore, neither the size nor the character of the human spermatogonial populations that express ID4 and GPR125, respectively, are known. A major barrier to addressing these questions is the availability of healthy adult testis tissue from donors with no known reproductive health problems. To overcome this obstacle, we have employed healthy testicular tissue from a novel set of organ donors (n = 16; aged 17-68 years) who were undergoing post-mortem clinical organ procurement. Using immunolabelling, we found that ID4 and GPR125 are expressed on partially overlapping spermatogonial populations and are more broadly expressed in the normal adult human testis. In addition, we found that expression of ID4 remained stable during ageing. These findings suggest that ID4 and GPR125 could be efficacious for identifying previously unrecognized human spermatogonial subpopulations in conjunction with other putative human stem cell markers, both in younger and older donors.
Project description:Adult mammalian testis is a source of pluripotent stem cells. However, the lack of specific surface markers has hampered identification and tracking of the unrecognized subset of germ cells that gives rise to multipotent cells. Although embryonic-like cells can be derived from adult testis cultures after only several weeks in vitro, it is not known whether adult self-renewing spermatogonia in long-term culture can generate such stem cells as well. Here, we show that highly proliferative adult spermatogonial progenitor cells (SPCs) can be efficiently obtained by cultivation on mitotically inactivated testicular feeders containing CD34+ stromal cells. SPCs exhibit testicular repopulating activity in vivo and maintain the ability in long-term culture to give rise to multipotent adult spermatogonial-derived stem cells (MASCs). Furthermore, both SPCs and MASCs express GPR125, an orphan adhesion-type G-protein-coupled receptor. In knock-in mice bearing a GPR125-beta-galactosidase (LacZ) fusion protein under control of the native Gpr125 promoter (GPR125-LacZ), expression in the testis was detected exclusively in spermatogonia and not in differentiated germ cells. Primary GPR125-LacZ SPC lines retained GPR125 expression, underwent clonal expansion, maintained the phenotype of germline stem cells, and reconstituted spermatogenesis in busulphan-treated mice. Long-term cultures of GPR125+ SPCs (GSPCs) also converted into GPR125+ MASC colonies. GPR125+ MASCs generated derivatives of the three germ layers and contributed to chimaeric embryos, with concomitant downregulation of GPR125 during differentiation into GPR125- cells. MASCs also differentiated into contractile cardiac tissue in vitro and formed functional blood vessels in vivo. Molecular bookmarking by GPR125 in the adult mouse and, ultimately, in the human testis could enrich for a population of SPCs for derivation of GPR125+ MASCs, which may be employed for genetic manipulation, tissue regeneration and revascularization of ischaemic organs.
Project description:Mammalian spermatogenesis is a classic adult stems cell-dependent process, supported by the self-renewal and differentiation of spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs). However, the identification of SSCs and elucidation of their behaviors in undisturbed testis has long been a big challenge. Here, we generated a knock-in mouse model, Id4-2A-CreERT2-2A-tdTomato, which allowed us to mark Id4-expressing (Id4(+)) cells at different time points in situ and track their behaviors across distinct developmental stages during steady-state and regenerating spermatogenesis. We found that Id4(+) cells continue to produce spermatogonia, spermatocytes and sperm in mouse testis, showing they are capable of self-renewal and have differentiation potential. Consistent with these findings, ablation of Id4(+) cells in mice results in a loss of spermatogenesis. Furthermore, developmental fate mapping reveals that Id4(+) SSCs originate from neonate Id4(+) gonocytes. Therefore, our results indicate that Id4 marks spermatogonial stem cells in the mouse testis.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The importance of spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) in spermatogenesis is crucial and intrinsic factors and extrinsic signals mediate fate decisions of SSCs. Among endogenous regulators, microRNAs (miRNAs) play critical role in spermatogenesis. However, the mechanisms which individual miRNAs regulate self- renewal and differentiation of SSCs are unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate effects of miRNA-30a-5p inhibitor on fate determinations of SSCs.<h4>Methods</h4>SSCs were isolated from testes of neonate mice (3-6 days old) and their purities were performed by flow cytometry with ID4 and Thy1 markers. Cultured cells were transfected with miRNA- 30a-5p inhibitor. Evaluation of the proliferation (GFRA1, PLZF and ID4) and differentiation (C-Kit & STRA8) markers of SSCs were accomplished by immunocytochemistry and western blot 48 h after transfection.<h4>Results</h4>Based on the results of flow cytometry with ID4 and Thy1 markers, percentage of purity of SSCs was about 84.3 and 97.4 % respectively. It was found that expression of differentiation markers after transfection was significantly higher in miRNA-30a- 5p inhibitor group compared to other groups. The results of proliferation markers evaluation also showed decrease of GFRA1, PLZF and ID4 protein in SSCs transfected with miRNA-30a-5p inhibitor compared to the other groups.<h4>Conclusions</h4>It can be concluded that inhibition of miRNA-30a-5p by overexpression of differentiation markers promotes differentiation of Spermatogonial Stem Cells.
Project description:Postnatal spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) progress through proliferative and developmental stages to populate the testicular niche prior to productive spermatogenesis. To better understand, we conducted extensive genomic profiling at multiple postnatal stages on subpopulations enriched for particular markers (THY1, KIT, OCT4, ID4, or GFRa1). Overall, our profiles suggest three broad populations of spermatogonia in juveniles: (1) epithelial-like spermatogonia (THY1(+); high OCT4, ID4, and GFRa1), (2) more abundant mesenchymal-like spermatogonia (THY1(+); moderate OCT4 and ID4; high mesenchymal markers), and (3) (in older juveniles) abundant spermatogonia committing to gametogenesis (high KIT(+)). Epithelial-like spermatogonia displayed the expected imprinting patterns, but, surprisingly, mesenchymal-like spermatogonia lacked imprinting specifically at paternally imprinted loci but fully restored imprinting prior to puberty. Furthermore, mesenchymal-like spermatogonia also displayed developmentally linked DNA demethylation at meiotic genes and also at certain monoallelic neural genes (e.g., protocadherins and olfactory receptors). We also reveal novel candidate receptor-ligand networks involving SSCs and the developing niche. Taken together, neonates/juveniles contain heterogeneous epithelial-like or mesenchymal-like spermatogonial populations, with the latter displaying extensive DNA methylation/chromatin dynamics. We speculate that this plasticity helps SSCs proliferate and migrate within the developing seminiferous tubule, with proper niche interaction and membrane attachment reverting mesenchymal-like spermatogonial subtype cells back to an epithelial-like state with normal imprinting profiles.
Project description:The orphan receptor GPR125 (ADGRA3) belongs to subgroup III of the adhesion G protein-coupled receptor (aGPCR) family. aGPCRs, also known as class B2 GPCRs, share basic structural and functional properties with other GPCRs. Many of them couple to G proteins and activate G protein-dependent and -independent signaling pathways, but little is known about aGPCR internalization and ?-arrestin recruitment. GPR125 was originally described as a spermatogonial stem cell marker and studied for its role in Wnt signaling and cell polarity. Here, using cell-based assays and confocal microscopy, we show that GPR125 is expressed on the cell surface and undergoes constitutive endocytosis in a ?-arrestin-independent, but clathrin-dependent manner, as indicated by colocalization with transferrin receptor 1, an early endosome marker. These data support that the constitutive internalization of GPR125 contributes to its biological functions by controlling receptor surface expression and accessibility for ligands. Our study sheds light on a new property of aGPCRs, namely internalization; a property described to be important for signal propagation, signal termination, and desensitization of class A (rhodopsin-like) and B1 (VIP/secretin) GPCRs.
Project description:Can human spermatogonia be detected in long-term primary testicular cell cultures using validated, germ cell-specific markers of spermatogonia?Germ cell-specific markers of spermatogonia/spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) are detected in early (1-2 weeks) but not late (> 6 weeks) primary testicular cell cultures; somatic cell markers are detected in late primary testicular cell cultures.The development of conditions for human SSC culture is critically dependent on the ability to define cell types unequivocally and to quantify spermatogonia/SSCs. Growth by somatic cells presents a major challenge in the establishment of SSC cultures and therefore markers that define spermatogonia/SSCs, but are not also expressed by testicular somatic cells, are essential for accurate characterization of SSC cultures.Testicular tissue from eight organ donors with normal spermatogenesis was used for assay validation and establishing primary testicular cell cultures.Immunofluorescence analysis of normal human testicular tissue was used to validate antibodies (UTF1, SALL4, DAZL and VIM) and then the antibodies were used to demonstrate that primary testicular cells cultured in vitro for 1-2 weeks were composed of somatic cells and rare germ cells. Primary testicular cell cultures were further characterized by comparing to testicular somatic cell cultures using quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR (UTF1, FGFR3, ZBTB16, GPR125, DAZL, GATA4 and VIM) and flow cytometry (CD9 and SSEA4).UTF1, FGFR3, DAZL and ZBTB16 qRT-PCR and SSEA4 flow cytometry were validated for the sensitive, quantitative and specific detection of germ cells. In contrast, GPR125 mRNA and CD9 were found to be not specific to germ cells because they were also expressed in testicular somatic cell cultures. While the germ cell-specific markers were detected in early primary testicular cell cultures (1-2 weeks), their expression steadily declined over time in vitro. After 6 weeks in culture only somatic cells were detected.Different groups attempting SSC culture have utilized different sources of human testes and minor differences in the preparation and maintenance of the testicular cell cultures. Differences in outcome may be explained by genetic background of the source tissue or technical differences.The ability to propagate human SSCs in vitro is a prerequisite for proposed autologous transplantation therapy aimed at restoring fertility to men who have been treated for childhood cancer. By applying the assays validated here it will be possible to quantitatively compare human SSC culture conditions. The eventual development of conditions for long-term propagation of human SSCs in vitro will greatly facilitate learning about the basic biology of these cells and in turn the ability to use human SSCs in therapy.The experiments presented in this manuscript were funded by a Project Development Team within the ICTSI NIH/NCRR Grant Number TR000006. The authors declare no competing interests.Not applicable.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:This study is designed to generate and propagate human spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) derived from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs). METHODS:hPSCs were differentiated into SSC-like cells (SSCLCs) by a three-step strategy. The biological characteristics of SSCLCs were detected by immunostaining with antibodies against SSC markers. The ability of self-renewal was measured by propagating for a long time and still maintaining SSCs morphological property. The differentiation potential of SSCLCs was determined by the generation of spermatocytes and haploid cells, which were identified by immunostaining and flow cytometry. The transcriptome analysis of SSCLCs was performed by RNA sequencing. The biological function of SSCLCs was assessed by xeno-transplantation into busulfan-treated mouse testes. RESULTS:SSCLCs were efficiently generated by a 3-step strategy. The SSCLCs displayed a grape-like morphology and expressed SSC markers. Moreover, SSCLCs could be propagated for approximately 4?months and still maintained their morphological properties. Furthermore, SSCLCs could differentiate into spermatocytes and haploid cells. In addition, SSCLCs displayed a similar gene expression pattern as human GPR125+ spermatogonia derived from human testicular tissues. And more, SSCLCs could survive and home at the base membrane of seminiferous tubules. CONCLUSION:SSCLCs were successfully derived from hPSCs and propagated for a long time. The SSCLCs resembled their counterpart human GPR125+ spermatogonia, as evidenced by the grape-like morphology, transcriptome, homing, and functional characteristics. Therefore, hPSC-derived SSCLCs may provide a reliable cell source for studying human SSCs biological properties, disease modeling, and drug toxicity screening.
Project description:Recently we and two other groups have shown that human spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) have the potential to become pluripotent in vitro in defined culture conditions and to differentiate into cells of the three embryonic germ layers. This discovery could open new avenues for autologous cell-based therapy in degenerative diseases, bypassing the ethical and immunological problems related to the human embryonic stem cells. In addition, human SSCs could be used to treat infertility in cancer survival children. However, in order to reprogram SSCs into pluripotency, or to preserve them for repopulation of infertile testes, the first and limiting step is to have access to a highly purified human SSC population that could be multiplied and efficiently cultured in vitro maintaining their molecular and cellular characteristics. Although various studies have attempted to identify molecular markers of human SSCs, to date there is still limited information related to the specific markers that could be used for their isolation and optimized purification that allows long-term in vitro culture of isolated human SSCs. Here using SSEA-4 as an optimal marker for isolation of a subpopulation of SSCs, we show that SSEA-4 positive cells express the highest level of SSC genes compared to other subpopulations isolated with different markers, and can be maintained in culture for over 14 passages which we were unable to obtain with other SSCs markers including GPR125 and ITGA6. In addition, we have established a new technology for cell sorting and long-term culture of human SSC-SSEA-4 positive cells that maximizes the purity and viability of the sorted cells. Our findings are crucial and could be used for the most efficient isolation, purification and long-term culture of SSCs for clinical applications in regenerative medicine, or for preparation of human SSCs for autologous treatment of infertility in cancer survival children.
Project description:In the present study, we used a serum-free culture media to propagate goat putative spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) and evaluated the effect of crucial growth factors on relative expression of some SSC markers and self-renewal related genes. The enriched SSCs were cultured on a homologous Sertoli cell feeder layer in KO-DMEM supplemented with 10% KOSR. Putative SSC colonies emerged between day 6 and 10 which were then characterized by the expression of numerous spermatogonial and pluripotency related markers. After 15 days of subculture, the relative mRNA expression study revealed that 40 ng/mL concentration of Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) upregulated the expression of BCL6B, ID4, PLZF, and UCHL1. Moreover, the supplementation of GDNF + bFGF up-regulated the expression of PLZF and BCL6B. UCHL1 expression was higher after addition of GDNF + LIF while, THY1 overexpressed in response to the addition of GDNF + CSF1. These results demonstrated that the goat SSCs were efficiently propagated using a KOSR based serum-free media and the growth factor supplementation markedly influences their gene expression profile.
Project description:The spermatogonial stem cell (SSC) population in testis is small, and the lack of SSC markers has severely handicapped research on these cells. During our attempt to identify genes involved in SSC aging, we found that CD2 is expressed in cultured SSCs. Flow cytometric analysis and spermatogonial transplantation experiments showed that CD2 is expressed in SSCs from mature adult mouse testes. Cultured SSCs transfected with short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) against CD2 proliferated poorly and showed an increased frequency of apoptosis. Moreover, functional analysis of transfected cells revealed impairment of SSC activity. Fluorescence activated cell sorting and spermatogonial transplantation experiments showed that CD2 is expressed not only in mouse but also in rat SSCs. The results indicate that CD2 is a novel SSC surface marker conserved between mouse and rat SSCs.