Following testicular spermatogenesis, mammalian sperm continue to mature in a long epithelial tube known as the epididymis, which plays key roles in remodeling sperm protein, lipid, and RNA composition. To understand the roles for the epididymis in reproductive biology, we generated a single cell atlas of the murine epididymis and vas deferens. We recovered key epithelial cell types including principal cells, clear cells, and basal cells, along with associated support cells that include fibroblasts, smooth muscle, macrophages and other immune cells. Moreover, our data illuminate extensive regional specialization of principal cell populations across the length of the epididymis. In addition to region-specific specialization of principal cells, we find evidence for functionally specialized subpopulations of stromal cells, and, most notably, two distinct populations of clear cells. Our dataset extends on existing knowledge of epididymal biology, and provides a wealth of information on potential regulatory and signaling factors that bear future investigation.
- Vera D Rinaldi
- Elisa Donnard
- Kyle Gellatly
- Morten Rasmussen
- Alper Kucukural
- Onur Yukselen
- Manuel Garber
- Oliver J Rando
- Upasna Sharma
- Vera D Rinaldi
- Oliver J Rando
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All animal care and use procedures were in accordance with guidelines of the University of Massachusetts Medical School Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (Protocol # A-1833-18).
- Bernard Robaire, McGill University, Canada
- Received: January 25, 2020
- Accepted: July 27, 2020
- Accepted Manuscript published: July 30, 2020 (version 1)
© 2020, Rinaldi et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
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