Dynamic cytoplasmic projections connect mammalian spermatogonia in vivo. Academic Article uri icon


  • Throughout the male reproductive lifespan, spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) produce committed progenitors that proliferate and then remain physically connected in growing clones via short cylindrical intercellular bridges (ICBs). These ICBs, which enlarge in meiotic spermatocytes, have been demonstrated to provide a conduit for postmeiotic haploid spermatids to share sex chromosome-derived gene products. In addition to ICBs, spermatogonia exhibit multiple thin cytoplasmic projections. Here, we have explored the nature of these projections in mice and find that they are dynamic, span considerable distances from their cell body (?25??m), either terminate or physically connect multiple adjacent spermatogonia, and allow for sharing of macromolecules. Our results extend the current model that subsets of spermatogonia exist as isolated cells or clones, and support a model in which spermatogonia of similar developmental fates are functionally connected through a shared dynamic cytoplasm mediated by thin cytoplasmic projections.

publication date

  • August 13, 2018