Differentiation of primate primordial germ cell-like cells following transplantation into the adult gonadal niche

Nat Commun. 2018 Dec 17;9(1):5339. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-07740-7.


A major challenge in stem cell differentiation is the availability of bioassays to prove cell types generated in vitro are equivalent to cells in vivo. In the mouse, differentiation of primordial germ cell-like cells (PGCLCs) from pluripotent cells was validated by transplantation, leading to the generation of spermatogenesis and to the birth of offspring. Here we report the use of xenotransplantation (monkey to mouse) and homologous transplantation (monkey to monkey) to validate our in vitro protocol for differentiating male rhesus (r) macaque PGCLCs (rPGCLCs) from induced pluripotent stem cells (riPSCs). Specifically, transplantation of aggregates containing rPGCLCs into mouse and nonhuman primate testicles overcomes a major bottleneck in rPGCLC differentiation. These findings suggest that immature rPGCLCs once transplanted into an adult gonadal niche commit to differentiate towards late rPGCs that initiate epigenetic reprogramming but do not complete the conversion into ENO2-positive spermatogonia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / transplantation*
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase / metabolism
  • Spermatocytes / cytology*
  • Spermatogenesis / physiology*
  • Spermatogonia / cytology*
  • Testis / metabolism*
  • Transplantation, Heterologous
  • Transplantation, Homologous


  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase