Stage-specific gene expression is a fundamental characteristic of rat spermatogenic cells and Sertoli cells

Daniel S. Johnston, William W. Wright, Paul DiCandeloro, Ewa Wilson, Gregory S. Kopf, Scott A. Jelinsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mammalian spermatogenesis is a complex biological process that occurs within a highly organized tissue, the seminiferous epithelium. The coordinated maturation of spermatogonia, spermatocytes, and spermatids suggests the existence of precise programs of gene expression in these cells and in their neighboring somatic Sertoli cells. The objective of this study was to identify the genes that execute these programs. Rat seminiferous tubules at stages I, II-III, IV-V, VI, VIIa,b, VIIc,d, VIII, IX-XI, XII, and XIII-XIV of the cycle were isolated by microdissection, whereas Sertoli cells, spermatogonia plus early spermatocytes, pachytene spermatocytes, and round spermatids were purified from enzymatically dispersed testes. Microarray analysis by using Rat Genome 230 2.0 arrays identified 16,971 probe sets that recognized testicular transcripts, and 398 of these were identified as testis-specific. Expression of 1,286 probe sets were found to differ at least 4-fold between two cell types and also across the stages of the cycle. Pathway and annotated cluster analyses of those probe sets predicted that entire biological pathways and processes are regulated cyclically in specific cells. Important among these are the cell cycle, DNA repair, and embryonic neuron development. Taken together, these data indicate that stage-regulated gene expression is a widespread and fundamental characteristic of spermatogenic cells and Sertoli cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8315-8320
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number24
StatePublished - Jun 17 2008


  • Array analysis
  • Contraception
  • Seminiferous tubules
  • Spermatogenesis
  • Stages of the cycle of the seminiferous epithellum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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