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Nat Commun. 2019 Jun 26;10(1):2787. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-10596-0.

Developmental kinetics and transcriptome dynamics of stem cell specification in the spermatogenic lineage.

Author information

1
Center for Reproductive Biology, School of Molecular Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, 99164, USA.
2
Center for Reproductive Biology, School of Molecular Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, 99164, USA. joatley@wsu.edu.

Abstract

Continuity, robustness, and regeneration of cell lineages relies on stem cell pools that are established during development. For the mammalian spermatogenic lineage, a foundational spermatogonial stem cell (SSC) pool arises from prospermatogonial precursors during neonatal life via mechanisms that remain undefined. Here, we mapped the kinetics of this process in vivo using a multi-transgenic reporter mouse model, in silico with single-cell RNA sequencing, and functionally with transplantation analyses to define the SSC trajectory from prospermatogonia. Outcomes revealed that a heterogeneous prospermatogonial population undergoes dynamic changes during late fetal and neonatal development. Differential transcriptome profiles predicted divergent developmental trajectories from fetal prospermatogonia to descendant postnatal spermatogonia. Furthermore, transplantation analyses demonstrated that a defined subset of fetal prospermatogonia is fated to function as SSCs. Collectively, these findings suggest that SSC fate is preprogrammed within a subset of fetal prospermatogonia prior to building of the foundational pool during early neonatal development.

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