Regulation of the germ stem cell niche as the foundation for adult spermatogenesis: A role for miRNAs?

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review


Within the testis the spermatogonial stem cells reside in a unique microenvironment, or 'niche', which includes the surrounding somatic cells. The regulation of the balance between self-renewal and differentiation of spermatogonial stem cells determines the lifelong supply of spermatozoa by maintaining a population of undifferentiated spermatogonial stem cells and ensuring that adequate numbers of spermatogonia undergo spermatogenesis. Mouse models have been instrumental in determining a large number of factors involved in regulating the spermatogonial stem cell self-renewal and/or differentiation. However, the precise mechanisms controlling regulation of the germ cell niche remain to be elucidated. Recently the discovery of microRNAs, which regulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional level, has provided new insight into testis biology, spermatogenesis and germ stem cell regulation. In this review we summarize the main factors involved in the regulation of the germ stem cell niche and describe the role of microRNA signaling in this regulation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-83
Number of pages8
JournalSeminars in Cell and Developmental Biology
Early online date6 Apr 2014
Publication statusPublished - May 2014


  • MicroRNA
  • Niche
  • Sertoli cell
  • Spermatogonial stem cell


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