Sertoli cells are essential nurse cells in the testis that regulate the process of spermatogenesis and establish the immune-privileged environment of the blood-testis-barrier (BTB). Here, we report the in vitro reprogramming of fibroblasts to human induced Sertoli-like cells (hiSCs). Initially, five transcriptional factors and a gene reporter carrying the AMH promoter were utilized to obtain the hiSCs. We further reduce the number of reprogramming factors to two, NR5A1 and GATA4, and show that these hiSCs have transcriptome profiles and cellular properties that are similar to those of primary human Sertoli cells. Moreover, hiSCs can sustain the viability of spermatogonia cells harvested from mouse seminiferous tubules. hiSCs suppress the proliferation of human T lymphocytes and protect xenotransplanted human cells in mice with normal immune systems. hiSCs also allow us to determine a gene associated with Sertoli only syndrome (SCO), CX43, is indeed important in regulating the maturation of Sertoli cells.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files.
HiSC RNA sequence dataNCBI Gene Expression Omnibus, GSE133757.
- Kehkooi Kee
- Kehkooi Kee
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: C57BL/6 mice were purchased from Vital River Laboratory Animal Technology Co., Ltd (Beijing, China). All animal maintenance and experimental procedures were performed according to the guidelines of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) of Tsinghua University, Beijing, China (Approval number: 17-JJK1).
- William E Lowry, UCLA, United States
© 2019, Liang et al.
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