MAST4 controls cell cycle in spermatogonial stem cells

Seung Jun Lee, Ka Hwa Kim, Dong Joon Lee, Pyunggang Kim, Jinah Park, Seong Jin Kim, Han Sung Jung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Spermatogonial stem cell (SSC) self-renewal is regulated by reciprocal interactions between Sertoli cells and SSCs in the testis. In a previous study, microtubule-associated serine/threonine kinase 4 (MAST4) has been studied in Sertoli cells as a regulator of SSC self-renewal. The present study focused on the mechanism by which MAST4 in Sertoli cells transmits the signal and regulates SSCs, especially cell cycle regulation. The expression of PLZF, CDK2 and PLZF target genes was examined in WT and Mast4 KO testes by Immunohistochemistry, RT-qPCR and western blot. In addition, IdU and BrdU were injected into WT and Mast4 KO mice and cell cycle of SSCs was analysed. Finally, the testis tissues were cultured in vitro to examine the regulation of cell cycle by MAST4 pathway. Mast4 KO mice showed infertility with Sertoli cell-only syndrome and reduced sperm count. Furthermore, Mast4 deletion led to decreased PLZF expression and cell cycle progression in the testes. MAST4 also induced cyclin-dependent kinase 2 (CDK2) to phosphorylate PLZF and activated PLZF suppressed the transcriptional levels of genes related to cell cycle arrest, leading SSCs to remain stem cell state. MAST4 is essential for maintaining cell cycle in SSCs via the CDK2-PLZF interaction. These results demonstrate the pivotal role of MAST4 regulating cell cycle of SSCs and the significance of spermatogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCell Proliferation
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
National Research Foundation of Korea, Grant/Award Numbers: NRF‐2016R1A5A2008630, NRF‐2022R1A2B5B03001627 Funding information

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) Grant funded by the Korea Government (MSIP) (NRF‐2022R1A2B5B03001627 and NRF‐2016R1A5A2008630).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Cell Proliferation published by Beijing Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cell Biology


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