Retinoid signaling controls spermatogonial differentiation by regulating expression of replication-dependent core histone genes Academic Article uri icon


  • Retinoic acid (RA) signaling is crucial for spermatogonial differentiation, which is a key step for spermatogenesis. We explored the mechanisms underlying spermatogonial differentiation by targeting expression of a dominant-negative mutant of retinoic acid receptor α (RARα) specifically to the germ cells of transgenic mice to subvert the activity of endogenous receptors. Here we show that: (1) inhibition of retinoid signaling in germ cells completely blocked spermatogonial differentiation identical to vitamin A-deficient (VAD) mice; (2) the blockage of spermatogonial differentiation by impaired retinoid signaling resulted from an arrest of entry of the undifferentiated spermatogonia into S phase; and (3) retinoid signaling regulated spermatogonial differentiation through controlling expression of its direct target genes, including replication-dependent core histone genes. Taken together, our results demonstrate that the action of retinoid signaling on spermatogonial differentiation in vivo is direct through the spermatogonia itself, and provide the first evidence that this is mediated by regulation of expression of replication-dependent core histone genes.

publication date

  • 2016