1. Developmental Biology
  2. Genetics and Genomics
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An atlas of cell types in the mammalian epididymis and vas deferens

  1. Vera D Rinaldi
  2. Elisa Donnard
  3. Kyle Gellatly
  4. Morten Rasmussen
  5. Alper Kucukural
  6. Onur Yukselen
  7. Manuel Garber
  8. Upasna Sharma
  9. Oliver J Rando  Is a corresponding author
  1. University of Massachusetts Medical School, United States
  2. University of California Santa Cruz, United States
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Cite this article as: eLife 2020;9:e55474 doi: 10.7554/eLife.55474

Abstract

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.

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Author details

  1. Vera D Rinaldi

    Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-0051-1754
  2. Elisa Donnard

    Department of Bioinformatic and Integrative Biology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-8834-8110
  3. Kyle Gellatly

    Department of Bioinformatic and Integrative Biology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Morten Rasmussen

    Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. Alper Kucukural

    Department of Bioinformatic and Integrative Biology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-9983-394X
  6. Onur Yukselen

    Department of Bioinformatics and Integrative Biology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  7. Manuel Garber

    Department of Bioinformatics and Integrative Biology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-8732-1293
  8. Upasna Sharma

    Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology, University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  9. Oliver J Rando

    Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, United States
    For correspondence
    Oliver.Rando@umassmed.edu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-1516-9397

Funding

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (R01HD080224)

  • Vera D Rinaldi
  • Elisa Donnard
  • Kyle Gellatly
  • Morten Rasmussen
  • Alper Kucukural
  • Onur Yukselen
  • Manuel Garber
  • Oliver J Rando

NIH Office of the Director (1DP2AG066622)

  • Upasna Sharma

John Templeton Foundation (61350)

  • 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.

Ethics

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).

Reviewing Editor

  1. Bernard Robaire, McGill University, Canada

Publication history

  1. Received: January 25, 2020
  2. Accepted: July 27, 2020
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: July 30, 2020 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: August 13, 2020 (version 2)
  5. Version of Record updated: August 19, 2020 (version 3)

Copyright

© 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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