Transcriptional analysis of histone deacetylase family members reveal similarities between differentiating and aging spermatogonial stem cells

Kofman, A. E.; Huszar, J. M.; Payne, C. J.

Stem Cell Rev. 2012 Jun 26; 9(1):59-64


The differentiation of adult stem cells involves extensive chromatin remodeling, mediated in part by the gene products of histone deacetylase (HDAC) family members. While the transcriptional downregulation of HDACs can impede stem cell self-renewal in certain contexts, it may also promote stem cell maintenance under other circumstances. In self-renewing, differentiating, and aging spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs), the gene expression dynamics of HDACs have not yet been characterized. To gain further insight with these studies, we analyzed the transcriptional profiles of six HDAC family members, previously identified to be the most highly expressed in self-renewing SSCs, during stem cell differentiation and aging. Here we discovered that in both differentiating and aging SSCs the expression of Sirt4 increases, while the expression of Hdac2, Hdac6, and Sirt1 decreases. When SSCs are exposed to the lifespan-enhancing drug rapamycin in vivo, the resultant HDAC gene expression patterns are opposite of those seen in the differentiating and aging SSCs, with increased Hdac2, Hdac6, and Sirt1 and decreased Hdac8, Hdac9, and Sirt4. Our findings suggest that HDACs important for stem cell maintenance and oxidative capacity are downregulated as adult stem cells differentiate or age. These results provide important insights into the epigenetic regulation of stem cell differentiation and aging in mammals.

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