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11 May 2019 What has single-cell RNA-seq taught us about mammalian spermatogenesis?
Shinnosuke Suzuki, Victoria D. Diaz, Brian P. Hermann
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Abstract

Mammalian spermatogenesis is a complex developmental program that transforms mitotic testicular germ cells (spermatogonia) into mature male gametes (sperm) for production of offspring. For decades, it has been known that this several-weeks-long process involves a series of highly ordered and morphologically recognizable cellular changes as spermatogonia proliferate, spermatocytes undertake meiosis, and spermatids develop condensed nuclei, acrosomes, and flagella. Yet, much of the underlying molecular logic driving these processes has remained opaque because conventional characterization strategies often aggregated groups of cells to meet technical requirements or due to limited capability for cell selection. Recently, a cornucopia of single-cell transcriptome studies has begun to lift the veil on the full compendium of gene expression phenotypes and changes underlying spermatogenic development. These datasets have revealed the previously obscured molecular heterogeneity among and between varied spermatogenic cell types and are reinvigorating investigation of testicular biology. This review describes the extent of available single-cell RNA-seq profiles of spermatogenic and testicular somatic cells, how those data were produced and evaluated, their present value for advancing knowledge of spermatogenesis, and their potential future utility at both the benchtop and bedside.

Summary Sentence

This review details the host of new and revolutionary single-cell RNA-seq results from mouse and human spermatogenic cells that are already informing basic biological concepts of testicular function with high translational significance for male infertility and contraception.

© The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Society for the Study of Reproduction. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com
Shinnosuke Suzuki, Victoria D. Diaz, and Brian P. Hermann "What has single-cell RNA-seq taught us about mammalian spermatogenesis?," Biology of Reproduction 101(3), 617-634, (11 May 2019). https://doi.org/10.1093/biolre/ioz088
Received: 16 March 2019; Accepted: 9 May 2019; Published: 11 May 2019
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