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Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2008;24:263-86. doi: 10.1146/annurev.cellbio.24.110707.175355.

Regulation of spermatogonial stem cell self-renewal in mammals.

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Department of Animal Sciences, Center for Reproductive Biology and Health, College of Agricultural Sciences, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA.


Mammalian spermatogenesis is a classic adult stem cell-dependent process, supported by self-renewal and differentiation of spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs). Studying SSCs provides a model to better understand adult stem cell biology, and deciphering the mechanisms that control SSC functions may lead to treatment of male infertility and an understanding of the etiology of testicular germ cell tumor formation. Self-renewal of rodent SSCs is greatly influenced by the niche factor glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF). In mouse SSCs, GDNF activation upregulates expression of the transcription factor-encoding genes bcl6b, etv5, and lhx1, which influence SSC self-renewal. Additionally, the non-GDNF-stimulated transcription factors Plzf and Taf4b have been implicated in regulating SSC functions. Together, these molecules are part of a robust gene network controlling SSC fate decisions that may parallel the regulatory networks in other adult stem cell populations.

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