Conrad, S., Azizi, H., Hatami, M., Kubista, M., Bonin, M., Hennenlotter, J., Slevert, K.-D., Skutella, T. Expression of Genes Related to Germ Cell Lineage and Pluripotency in Single Cells and Colonies of Human Adult Germ Stem Cells. Stem Cells International, 2016: 8582526, 2016. doi: 10.1155/2016/8582526.
The aim of this study was to elucidate the molecular status of single human adult germ stem cells (haGSCs) and haGSC colonies, which spontaneously developed from the CD49f MACS and matrix- (collagen−/laminin+ binding-) selected fraction of enriched spermatogonia. Single-cell transcriptional profiling by Fluidigm BioMark system of a long-term cultured haGSCs cluster in comparison to human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and human fibroblasts (hFibs) revealed that haGSCs showed a characteristic germ- and pluripotency-associated gene expression profile with some similarities to hESCs and with a significant distinction from somatic hFibs. Genome-wide comparisons with microarray analysis confirmed that different haGSC colonies exhibited gene expression heterogeneity with more or less pluripotency. The results of this study confirm that haGSCs are adult stem cells with a specific molecular gene expression profile in vitro, related but not identical to true pluripotent stem cells. Under ES-cell conditions haGSC colonies could be selected and maintained in a partial pluripotent state at the molecular level, which may be related to their cell plasticity and potential to differentiate into cells of all germ layers.