Cyclin M1 (CNNM1) functions as a copper storage protein in neuronal cells. We report that Cnnm1 is expressed in mouse testis and brain and has a coding sequence of 1761 bp that encodes a 586 amino acid protein with a molecular weight of 66 kDa. Cnnm1 is expressed in the testes of mice from neonatal to adult stages with relatively higher levels in neonates. CNNM1 expression appeared to be restricted to c-KIT- and OCT3/4-positive cells in the testis, indicating that they are early spermatogonial cells. Spermatogonial stem cells in primary culture expressed Cnnm1, and their differentiation into embryoid body-like clusters in vitro resulted in the loss of Cnnm1 expression. Silencing of Cnnm1 in GC1-spg cells resulted in a significant reduction in the number of cells in G1 phase with concomitant increase in the numbers of cells in both S and G2/M phases. Further, retinoic acid downregulated the expression of Cnnm1 in GC1-spg cells. We conclude that CNNM1 is associated with stemness and self-renewal, and its downregulation triggers differentiation in spermatogonial cells in mouse.
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Vol. 95 • No. 1