TALEN-mediated gene targeting in porcine spermatogonia

Mol Reprod Dev. 2018 Mar;85(3):250-261. doi: 10.1002/mrd.22961. Epub 2018 Feb 22.


Spermatogonia represent a diploid germ cell population that includes spermatogonial stem cells. In this report, we describe new methods for isolation of highly enriched porcine spermatogonia based on light scatter properties, and for targeted mutagenesis in porcine spermatogonia using nucleofection and TALENs. We optimized a nucleofection protocol to deliver TALENs specifically targeting the DMD locus in porcine spermatogonia. We also validated specific sorting of porcine spermatogonia based on light scatter properties. We were able to obtain a highly enriched germ cell population with over 90% of cells being UCH-L1 positive undifferentiated spermatogonia. After gene targeting in porcine spermatogonia, indel (insertion or deletion) mutations as a result of non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) were detected in up to 18% of transfected cells. Our report demonstrates for the first time an approach to obtain a live cell population highly enriched in undifferentiated spermatogonia from immature porcine testes, and that gene targeting can be achieved in porcine spermatogonia which will enable germ line modification.

Keywords: gene editing; germ cells; nuclease; nucleofection; pig; sorting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Editing / veterinary
  • Gene Targeting / veterinary*
  • Male
  • Spermatogenesis
  • Spermatogonia / cytology
  • Spermatogonia / metabolism*
  • Swine
  • Testis / metabolism
  • Transcription Activator-Like Effector Nucleases / genetics*
  • Transcription Activator-Like Effector Nucleases / metabolism


  • Transcription Activator-Like Effector Nucleases