Deciphering the mitotic and meiotic phases of spermatogenesis in the mouse
Author(s)Romer, Katherine A
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Computational and Systems Biology Program.
David C. Page.
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Mammalian spermatogenesis includes two types of cell divisions. First, germ cells undergo transit-amplifying mitotic divisions, which enable prodigious output of mature spermatozoa. Second, they undergo reductive meiotic divisions to produce haploid gametes. In this thesis, I examine gene expression and regulation during the mitotic and meiotic phases of spermatogenesis. Chapter 2 describes how RA-STRA8 signaling regulates two key transitions: spermatogonial differentiation, which begins the transit-amplifying mitotic divisions, and meiotic initiation, which ends them. First, in mice lacking the RA (retinoic acid) target gene Stra8, undifferentiated spermatogonia accumulated; thus, Stra8 promotes spermatogonial differentiation as well as meiotic initiation. Second, injection of RA into wild-type males induced precocious spermatogonial differentiation and meiotic initiation; thus, RA acts instructively on germ cells at both transitions. Finally, competencies of germ cells to undergo spermatogonial differentiation or meiotic initiation in response to RA were found to be distinct and periodic. Chapter 3 describes a novel method for isolating precise populations of mitotic and meiotic germ cells from the mouse testis. We first synchronize germ cell development in vivo, and perform histological staging to verify synchronization. We then separate these germ cells from contaminating somatic and stem cells by FACS, to achieve ~90% purity of each distinct germ cell type, from the stem cell pool through mid/late meiotic prophase. Utilizing this "3S" method (synchronize, stage, and sort), we can robustly and efficiently separate germ cell types that were previously challenging or impossible to distinguish, with sufficient yield for transcriptomic and epigenetic studies. Chapter 4 presents a systematic comparison of the male and female gene expression programs of meiotic prophase. We performed transcriptional profiling of postnatal testes synchronized in precise stages of meiotic prophase, and compared to the same stages in the fetal ovary. We identified 260 genes up-regulated during both male and female prophase; this shared gene set represents a core meiotic program, composed of known and potential novel meiotic players. We also identified over two thousand genes that are up-regulated during meiotic prophase specifically in the male. These comprise both a male-specific meiotic program, and a preparatory program for cellular differentiation of spermatozoa.
Thesis: Ph. D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Computational and Systems Biology Program, 2016.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Computational and Systems Biology Program.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Computational and Systems Biology Program.