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Retinoic acid induces myoblasts transdifferentiation into premeiotic Stra8-positive cells

Authors

  • Wenwen Jia,

    1. College of Veterinary Medicine, Shaanxi Center for Stem Cell Engineering and Technology, Yangling, Shaanxi 712100, Peoples Republic of China
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  • De Cheng,

    1. College of Veterinary Medicine, Shaanxi Center for Stem Cell Engineering and Technology, Yangling, Shaanxi 712100, Peoples Republic of China
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  • Shuai Chen,

    1. College of Veterinary Medicine, Shaanxi Center for Stem Cell Engineering and Technology, Yangling, Shaanxi 712100, Peoples Republic of China
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  • Lei Lei,

    1. College of Veterinary Medicine, Shaanxi Center for Stem Cell Engineering and Technology, Yangling, Shaanxi 712100, Peoples Republic of China
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  • Huayan Wang

    Corresponding author
    1. College of Veterinary Medicine, Shaanxi Center for Stem Cell Engineering and Technology, Yangling, Shaanxi 712100, Peoples Republic of China
    2. Shaanxi Key Laboratory of Molecular Biology for Agriculture Northwest AF University, Yangling, Shaanxi 712100, Peoples Republic of China
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To whom correspondence should be addressed (email hhwang101@163.com).

Abstract

Spermatogonia and sperm-like cells can be derived in vitro via the addition of RA (retinoic acid) to pluripotent ES and EG cells. At present, however, these cells have not been derived from unipotent cells. Here, we have generated premeiotic Stra8-positive cells from C2C12 myoblasts following treatment with 10 μM all-trans-RA for 8 days. The differentiated C2C12 cells exhibited spherical morphology similar to spermatogonia, and they expressed gene markers of premeiosis, meiosis and postmeiosis. In addition, some of the transdifferentiated Stra8-positive cells had a tail-like phenotype. Flow cytometry results indicated that up to 20% of RA-induced C2C12 cells were Stra8-positive. Mvh (mouse vasa homologue) protein, a germ cell-specific ATP-dependent RNA helicase and Prm1 (protamine 1) were detected in transdifferentiated cells. The DNA content in induced C2C12 cells showed that Stra8-positive cells were diploid, suggesting that the myoblast transdifferentiation was in the premeiotic stage of spermatogenesis. The derivation of Stra8-positive cells from C2C12 myoblasts has important implications for studying unipotent cell differentiation. Furthermore, C2C12 myoblasts may provide a useful in vitro cell model to study signal transduction and transdifferentiation during RA treatments.

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