Comparative Molecular Physiology: “Developmental RNA-Seq transcriptomics of haploid germ cells and spermatozoa uncovers novel pathways associated with teleost spermiogenesis”

Scientific Reports volume 12, Article number: 14162 (2022)



Júlia Castro-Arnau,François Chauvigné,Jessica Gómez-Garrido,Anna Esteve-Codina,Marc Dabad,Tyler Alioto,Roderick Nigel Finn &Joan Cerdà 

In non-mammalian vertebrates, the molecular mechanisms involved in the transformation of haploid germ cells (HGCs) into spermatozoa (spermiogenesis) are largely unknown. Here, we investigated this process in the marine teleost gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata) through the examination of the changes in the transcriptome between cell-sorted HGCs and ejaculated sperm (SPZEJ). Samples were collected under strict quality controls employing immunofluorescence microscopy as well as by determining the sperm motion kinematic parameters by computer-assisted sperm analysis. Deep sequencing by RNA-seq identified a total of 7286 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) (p-value < 0.01) between both cell types, of which nearly half were upregulated in SPZEJ compared to HCGs. In addition, approximately 9000 long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) were found, of which 56% were accumulated or emerged de novo in SPZEJ. The upregulated transcripts are involved in transcriptional and translational regulation, chromatin and cytoskeleton organization, metabolic processes such as glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation, and also include a number of ion and water channels, exchangers, transporters and receptors. Pathway analysis conducted on DEGs identified 37 different signaling pathways enriched in SPZEJ, including 13 receptor pathways, from which the most predominant correspond to the chemokine and cytokine, gonadotropin-releasing hormone receptor and platelet derived growth factor signaling pathways. Our data provide new insight into the mRNA and lncRNA cargos of teleost spermatozoa and uncover the possible involvement of novel endocrine mechanisms during the differentiation and maturation of spermatozoa.

Castro-Arnau, J., Chauvigné, F., Gómez-Garrido, J. et al. Developmental RNA-Seq transcriptomics of haploid germ cells and spermatozoa uncovers novel pathways associated with teleost spermiogenesis. Sci Rep 12, 14162 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-18422-2