Mammalian spermatogenesis is sustained by mitotic germ cells with self-renewal potential known as undifferentiated spermatogonia. Maintenance of undifferentiated spermatogonia and spermatogenesis is dependent on tightly co-ordinated transcriptional and post-transcriptional mechanisms. The RNA helicase DDX5 is expressed by spermatogonia but roles in spermatogenesis are unexplored. Using an inducible knockout mouse model, we characterise an essential role for DDX5 in spermatogonial maintenance and show that Ddx5 is indispensable for male fertility. We demonstrate that DDX5 regulates appropriate splicing of key genes necessary for spermatogenesis. Moreover, DDX5 regulates expression of cell cycle genes in undifferentiated spermatogonia post-transcriptionally and is required for cell proliferation and survival. DDX5 can also act as a transcriptional co-activator and we demonstrate that DDX5 interacts with PLZF, a transcription factor required for germline maintenance, to co-regulate select target genes. Combined, our data reveal a critical multifunctional role for DDX5 in regulating gene expression programmes and activity of undifferentiated spermatogonia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)