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      AIP1-mediated actin disassembly is required for postnatal germ cell migration and spermatogonial stem cell niche establishment

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          In mammals, spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) arise from early germ cells called gonocytes, which are derived from primordial germ cells during embryogenesis and remain quiescent until birth. After birth, these germ cells migrate from the center of testicular cord, through Sertoli cells, and toward the basement membrane to form the SSC pool and establish the SSC niche architecture. However, molecular mechanisms underlying germ cell migration and niche establishment are largely unknown. Here, we show that the actin disassembly factor actin interacting protein 1 (AIP1) is required in both germ cells and Sertoli cells to regulate this process. Germ cell-specific or Sertoli cell-specific deletion of Aip1 gene each led to significant defects in germ cell migration after postnatal day 4 or 5, accompanied by elevated levels of actin filaments (F-actin) in the affected cells. Furthermore, our data demonstrated that interaction between germ cells and Sertoli cells, likely through E-cadherin-mediated cell adhesion, is critical for germ cells' migration toward the basement membrane. At last, Aip1 deletion in Sertoli cells decreased SSC self-renewal, increased spermatogonial differentiation, but did not affect the expression and secretion levels of growth factors, suggesting that the disruption of SSC function results from architectural changes in the postnatal niche.

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          Most cited references 64

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          A global double-fluorescent Cre reporter mouse.

          The Cre/loxP system has been used extensively for conditional mutagenesis in mice. Reporters of Cre activity are important for defining the spatial and temporal extent of Cre-mediated recombination. Here we describe mT/mG, a double-fluorescent Cre reporter mouse that expresses membrane-targeted tandem dimer Tomato (mT) prior to Cre-mediated excision and membrane-targeted green fluorescent protein (mG) after excision. We show that reporter expression is nearly ubiquitous, allowing visualization of fluorescent markers in live and fixed samples of all tissues examined. We further demonstrate that mG labeling is Cre-dependent, complementary to mT at single cell resolution, and distinguishable by fluorescence-activated cell sorting. Both membrane-targeted markers outline cell morphology, highlight membrane structures, and permit visualization of fine cellular processes. In addition to serving as a global Cre reporter, the mT/mG mouse may also be used as a tool for lineage tracing, transplantation studies, and analysis of cell morphology in vivo.
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            Regulation of cell fate decision of undifferentiated spermatogonia by GDNF.

            The molecular control of self-renewal and differentiation of stem cells has remained enigmatic. Transgenic loss-of-function and overexpression models now show that the dosage of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), produced by Sertoli cells, regulates cell fate decisions of undifferentiated spermatogonial cells that include the stem cells for spermatogenesis. Gene-targeted mice with one GDNF-null allele show depletion of stem cell reserves, whereas mice overexpressing GDNF show accumulation of undifferentiated spermatogonia. They are unable to respond properly to differentiation signals and undergo apoptosis upon retinoic acid treatment. Nonmetastatic testicular tumors are regularly formed in older GDNF-overexpressing mice. Thus, GDNF contributes to paracrine regulation of spermatogonial self-renewal and differentiation.
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              Spermatogenic cells of the prepuberal mouse: isolation and morphological characterization

              A procedure is described which permits the isolation from the prepuberal mouse testis of highly purified populations of primitive type A spermatogonia, type A spermatogonia, type B spermatogonia, preleptotene primary spermatocytes, leptotene and zygotene primary spermatocytes, pachytene primary spermatocytes and Sertoli cells. The successful isolation of these prepuberal cell types was accomplished by: (a) defining distinctive morphological characteristics of the cells, (b) determining the temporal appearance of spermatogenic cells during prepuberal development, (c) isolating purified seminiferous cords, after dissociation of the testis with collagenase, (d) separating the trypsin-dispersed seminiferous cells by sedimentation velocity at unit gravity, and (e) assessing the identity and purity of the isolated cell types by microscopy. The seminiferous epithelium from day 6 animals contains only primitive type A spermatogonia and Sertoli cells. Type A and type B spermatogonia are present by day 8. At day 10, meiotic prophase is initiated, with the germ cells reaching the early and late pachytene stages by 14 and 18, respectively. Secondary spermatocytes and haploid spermatids appear throughout this developmental period. The purity and optimum day for the recovery of specific cell types are as follows: day 6, Sertoli cells (purity>99 percent) and primitive type A spermatogonia (90 percent); day 8, type A spermatogonia (91 percent) and type B spermatogonia (76 percent); day 18, preleptotene spermatocytes (93 percent), leptotene/zygotene spermatocytes (52 percent), and pachytene spermatocytes (89 percent), leptotene/zygotene spermatocytes (52 percent), and pachytene spermatocytes (89 percent).

                Author and article information

                Cell Death Dis
                Cell Death Dis
                Cell Death & Disease
                Nature Publishing Group
                July 2015
                16 July 2015
                1 July 2015
                : 6
                : 7
                : e1818
                [1 ]State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology and MOE Key Laboratory of Model Animals for Disease Study, Model Animal Research Center, Nanjing University , Nanjing, China
                [2 ]State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Medicine, Nanjing Medical University , Nanjing, China
                [3 ]Bio-X Institute, Shanghai Jiaotong University , Shanghai, China
                Author notes
                [* ]State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology and MOE Key Laboratory of Model Animals for Disease Study, Model Animal Research Center, Nanjing University , 12 Xue-fu Road, Nanjing 210061, China. Tel/Fax: +86 25 58641507; E-mail: chenjiong@ or huangxx@ or xinwu@ or jiwu@

                Present address: Nanjing Maternity and Child Health Care Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China.


                These authors contributed equally to this work.


                Present address: School of Life science, Jiangxi Science & Technology Normal University, Nanchang, China.


                Present address: School of Life Science and Technology, ShanghaiTech University, Shanghai, China.

                Copyright © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited

                Cell Death and Disease is an open-access journal published by Nature Publishing Group. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit

                Original Article

                Cell biology


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