A-single spermatogonia heterogeneity and cell cycles synchronize with rat seminiferous epithelium stages VIII-IX

Shadaan N. Abid, Timothy E. Richardson, Heather M. Powell, Priscilla Jaichander, Jaideep Chaudhary, Karen M. Chapman, F. Kent Hamra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


In mammalian testes, "A-single" spermatogonia function as stem cells that sustain sperm production for fertilizing eggs. Yet, it is not understood how cellular niches regulate the developmental fate of A-single spermatogonia. Here, immunolabeling studies in rat testes define a novel population of ERBB3+ germ cells as approximately 5% of total SNAP91+ A-single spermatogonia along a spermatogenic wave. As a function of time, ERBB3+ A-single spermatogonia are detected during a 1- to 2- day period each 12.9-day sperm cycle, representing 35%-40% of SNAP91+ A-single spermatogonia in stages VIII-IX of the seminiferous epithelium. Local concentrations of ERBB3+ Asingle spermatogonia are maintained under the mean density measured for neighboring SNAP91+ A-single spermatogonia, potentially indicative of niche saturation. ERBB3+ spermatogonia also synchronize their cell cycles with epithelium stages VIII-IX, where they form physical associations with preleptotene spermatocytes transiting the blood-testis barrier and Sertoli cells undergoing sperm release. Thus, A-single spermatogonia heterogeneity within this short-lived and reoccurring microenvironment invokes novel theories on how cellular niches integrate with testicular physiology to orchestrate sperm development in mammals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberArticle 32
JournalBiology of reproduction
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • A-single spermatogonia
  • ERBB3
  • Epithelial cycle
  • Germline stemcell
  • HER3
  • SNAP91
  • Seminiferous
  • Spermatogenesis
  • Spermatogonia
  • Spermatogonial stem cells
  • Stem cell niche
  • Stem cells
  • Testis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Cell Biology


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