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Video protocol

Cryopreservation of Mouse Embryos by Ethylene Glycol-Based Vitrification
JoVE 3155 11/18/2011

BRC Current Technology April 2012


4. Ectopic Germ Cell Transplantation

Production of functional gametes under the
kidney capsule

BRC Current Technology(pdf)PDF: 68KB

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Mammalian germ cells first emerge from embryonic epiblast cells as primordial germ cells (PGCs). PGCs
undergo dynamic genetic (i.e., meiosis) and epigenetic changes that are quite different from those of
somatic cells. These changes are thought to be under the strict control of autonomous systems and from
external milieu and, therefore, the complex series of developmental events in PGCs should proceed
precisely in a spatially and temporally dependent manner. This is the one of the major causes of difficulty
in producing functional gametes from PGCs under entirely in vitro condition. However, if PGCs can
develop ectopically in adult animals, the technique would accelerate their experimental manipulation in
vitro
 in the field of germ cell biology. We found that when PGCs isolated from 12.5 dpc mouse embryos of
both sexes were transplanted together with gonadal somatic cells into the kidney capsules, testis- and
ovary-like tissues developed within about 4 weeks. Inside these tissues, there were many PGC-derived
developing germ cells, which were proven to be functional with the aid of assisted reproductive technology
such as in vitro maturation of oocytes and microinsemination (ICSI). Thus, PGC development is specially
and temporally more flexible than we imagined before. The key to the successful development and survival
of PGCs was most likely the coexistence of a set of appropriate somatic cells. As the preparation of
somatic cell suspensions from fetal gonads is relatively easy, this transplantation system would be
applicable to genetic conservation of invaluable animal resources and to the experimental model for in
vitro
-production of germ cells from ES cells or iPS cells.

Reference:Matoba et al., Biol. Reprod. 84, 631-638 (2011)

Comment in: Roelen BA., Biol. Reprod. 84, 619-620 (2011)