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Transcriptome profiling of the developing postnatal mouse testis using next-generation sequencing

DOI: 10.1007/s11427-012-4411-y

Keywords: next-generation sequencing,transcriptome,mouse testis,development

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Abstract:

Mammalian testis development is a complex and highly sophisticated process. To study the dynamic change of normal testis development at the transcriptional level, we investigated mouse testes at three postnatal ages: 6 days postnatal, 4 weeks old, and 10 weeks old, representing infant (PN1), juvenile (PN2), and adult (PN3) stages, respectively. Using ultra high-throughput RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) technology, we obtained 211 million reads with a length of 35 bp. We identified 18837 genes that were expressed in mouse testes, and found that genes expressed at the highest level were involved in spermatogenesis. The gene expression pattern in PN1 was distinct from that in PN2 and PN3, which indicates that spermatogenesis has commenced in PN2. We analyzed a large number of genes related to spermatogenesis and somatic development of the testis, which play important roles at different developmental stages. We also found that the MAPK, Hedgehog, and Wnt signaling pathways were significantly involved at different developmental stages. These findings further our understanding of the molecular mechanisms that regulate testis development. Our study also demonstrates significant advantages of RNA-seq technology for studying transcriptome during development.

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