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Kasane Kishi, Aya Uchida, Hinako M Takase, Hitomi Suzuki, Masamichi Kurohmaru, Naoki Tsunekawa, Masami Kanai-Azuma, Stephen A Wood, and Yoshiakira Kanai

USP9X (ubiquitin-specific peptidase 9, X chromosome) is the mammalian orthologue of Drosophila deubiquitinase fat facets that was previously shown to regulate the maintenance of the germ cell lineage partially through stabilizing Vasa, one of the widely conserved factors crucial for gametogenesis. Here, we demonstrate that USP9X is expressed in the gonocytes and spermatogonia in mouse testes from newborn to adult stages. By using Vasa-Cre mice, germ cell-specific conditional deletion of Usp9x from the embryonic stage showed no abnormality in the developing testes by 1 week and no appreciable defects in the undifferentiated and differentiating spermatogonia at postnatal and adult stages. Interestingly, after 2 weeks, Usp9x-null spermatogenic cells underwent apoptotic cell death at the early spermatocyte stage, and then, caused subsequent aberrant spermiogenesis, which resulted in a complete infertility of Usp9x conditional knockout male mice. These data provide the first evidence of the crucial role of the spermatogonial USP9X during transition from the mitotic to meiotic phases and/or maintenance of early meiotic phase in Usp9x conditional knockout testes.

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Mai Shinomura, Kasane Kishi, Ayako Tomita, Miyuri Kawasumi, Hiromi Kanezashi, Yoshiko Kuroda, Naoki Tsunekawa, Aisa Ozawa, Yoshimi Aiyama, Asuka Yoneda, Hitomi Suzuki, Michiko Saito, Jean-Yves Picard, Kenji Kohno, Masamichi Kurohmaru, Masami Kanai-Azuma, and Yoshiakira Kanai

Cell ablation technology is useful for studying specific cell lineages in a developing organ in vivo. Herein, we established a novel anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH)-toxin receptor-mediated cell knockout (Treck) mouse line, in which the diphtheria toxin (DT) receptor was specifically activated in Sertoli and granulosa cells in postnatal testes and ovaries respectively. In the postnatal testes of Amh-Treck transgenic (Tg) male mice, DT injection induced a specific loss of the Sertoli cells in a dose-dependent manner, as well as the specific degeneration of granulosa cells in the primary and secondary follicles caused by DT injection in Tg females. In the testes with depletion of Sertoli cell, germ cells appeared to survive for only several days after DT treatment and rapidly underwent cell degeneration, which led to the accumulation of a large amount of cell debris within the seminiferous tubules by day 10 after DT treatment. Transplantation of exogenous healthy Sertoli cells following DT treatment rescued the germ cell loss in the transplantation sites of the seminiferous epithelia, leading to a partial recovery of the spermatogenesis. These results provide not only in vivo evidence of the crucial role of Sertoli cells in the maintenance of germ cells, but also show that the Amh-Treck Tg line is a useful in vivo model of the function of the supporting cell lineage in developing mammalian gonads.