Long noncoding RNAs in spermatogenesis: insights from recent high-throughput transcriptome studies

Alfred Chun-Shui Luk, Wai-Yee Chan, Owen M Rennert, Tin-Lap Lee
2014 Reproduction  
Spermatogenesis is a complex developmental process in which undifferentiated spermatogonia are differentiated into spermatocytes and spermatids through two rounds of meiotic division and finally giving rise to mature spermatozoa (sperm). These processes involve many testis- or male germ cell-specific gene products that undergo strict developmental regulations. As a result, identifying critical, regulatory genes controlling spermatogenesis provide the clues not only to the regulatory mechanism
more » ... spermatogenesis at the molecular level, but also to the identification of candidate genes for infertility or contraceptives development. Despite the biological importance in male germ cell development, the underlying mechanisms of stage-specific gene regulation and cellular transition during spermatogenesis remain largely elusive. Previous genomic studies on transcriptome profiling were largely limited to protein-coding genes. Importantly, protein-coding genes only account for a small percentage of transcriptome; the majority are noncoding transcripts that do not translate into proteins. Although small noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) such as microRNAs, siRNAs, and Piwi-interacting RNAs are extensively investigated in male germ cell development, the role of long ncRNAs (lncRNAs), commonly defined as ncRNAs longer than 200 bp, is relatively unexplored. Herein, we summarize recent transcriptome studies on spermatogenesis and show examples that a subset of noncoding transcript population, known as lncRNAs, constitutes a novel regulatory target in spermatogenesis.
doi:10.1530/rep-13-0594 pmid:24713396 fatcat:zieyreaxw5fn3o2kt3woqyisyi