H3K9 Demethylases JMJD1A and JMJD1B Control Prospermatogonia to Spermatogonia Transition in Mouse Germline

Stem Cell Reports. 2020 Aug 11;15(2):424-438. doi: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2020.06.013. Epub 2020 Jul 16.


Histone H3 lysine 9 (H3K9) methylation is dynamically regulated by methyltransferases and demethylases. In spermatogenesis, prospermatogonia differentiate into differentiating or undifferentiated spermatogonia after birth. However, the epigenetic regulation of prospermatogonia to spermatogonia transition is largely unknown. We found that perinatal prospermatogonia have extremely low levels of di-methylated H3K9 (H3K9me2) and that H3K9 demethylases, JMJD1A and JMJD1B, catalyze H3K9me2 demethylation in perinatal prospermatogonia. Depletion of JMJD1A and JMJD1B in the embryonic germline resulted in complete loss of male germ cells after puberty, indicating that H3K9me2 demethylation is essential for male germline maintenance. JMJD1A/JMJD1B-depleted germ cells were unable to differentiate into functional spermatogonia. JMJD1 isozymes contributed to activation of several spermatogonial stem cell maintenance genes through H3K9 demethylation during the prospermatogonia to spermatogonia transition, which we propose is key for spermatogonia development. In summary, JMJD1A/JMJD1B-mediated H3K9me2 demethylation promotes prospermatogonia to differentiate into functional spermatogonia by establishing proper gene expression profiles.

Keywords: histone demethylation; prospermatogonia; spermatogonia; transcription.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biocatalysis
  • Chromosomes, Mammalian / genetics
  • Demethylation
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Germ Cells / cytology*
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism
  • Jumonji Domain-Containing Histone Demethylases / genetics
  • Jumonji Domain-Containing Histone Demethylases / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • Spermatogonia / cytology*
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Isoenzymes
  • Jumonji Domain-Containing Histone Demethylases
  • Kdm3a protein, mouse
  • Kdm3b protein, mouse