Small RNA molecules in the regulation of spermatogenesis

Reproduction : the Official Journal of the Society for the Study of Fertility
Zuping HeM Dym

Abstract

Small RNA molecules (small RNAs), including small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), microRNAs (miRNAs), and piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs), have recently emerged as important regulators of gene expression at the post-transcriptional or translation level. Significant progress has recently been made utilizing small RNAs in elucidating the molecular mechanisms regulating spermatogenesis. Spermatogenesis is a complex process that involves the division and eventual differentiation of spermatogonial stem cells into mature spermatozoa. The process of spermatogenesis is composed of several phases: mitotic proliferation of spermatogonia to produce spermatocytes; two meiotic divisions of spermatocytes to generate haploid round spermatids; and spermiogenesis, the final phase that involves the maturation of early-round spermatids into elongated mature spermatids. A number of miRNAs are expressed abundantly in male germ cells throughout spermatogenesis, while piRNAs are only present in pachytene spermatocytes and round spermatids. In this review, we first address the synthesis, mechanisms of action, and functions of siRNA, miRNA, and piRNA, and then we focus on the recent advancements in defining the small RNAs in the regulation of spermatogenesis...Continue Reading

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Related Concepts

Pachytene
PIWIL1 gene
RNA, Small Interfering
Transcription, Genetic
Sperm Cell
RNA, Small Temporal
Spermatozoa Cell Count
Biologic Development
Gene Expression
Cell Differentiation Process

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