The C-X-C signalling system in the rodent vs primate testis: impact on germ cell niche interaction
In zebrafish, action of the chemokine Cxcl12 is mediated through its G-protein-coupled seven-transmembrane domain receptor Cxcr4 and the atypical receptor Cxcr7. Employing this animal model, it was revealed that this Cxcl12 signalling system plays a crucial role for directed migration of primordial germ cells (PGC) during early testicular development. Importantly, subsequent studies indicated that this regulatory mechanism is evolutionarily conserved also in mice. What is more, the functional role of the CXCL12 system does not seem to be limited to early phases of testicular development. Data from mouse studies rather demonstrate that CXCL12 and its receptors are also involved in the homing process of gonocytes into their niches at the basal membrane of the seminiferous tubules. Intriguingly, even the spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) present in the adult mouse testis appear to maintain the ability to migrate towards a CXCL12 gradient as demonstrated by functional in vitro migration assays and in vivo germ cell transplantation assays. These findings not only indicate a role of the CXCL12 system throughout male germ cell development in mice but also suggest that this system may be evolutionarily conserved. In this review, we take into account the available literature focusing on the localization patterns of the CXCL12 system not only in rodents but also in primates, including the human. Based on these data, we discuss whether the CXCL12 system is also conserved between rodents and primates and discuss the known and potential functional consequences.
Source: The journal of Reproductive Science