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    Although the interspecies hybridization of bovids, such as cattle-yak (Bos taurus × Bos grunniens), has heterosis benefits, the infertility of hybrid males affects the maintenance of dominant traits in subsequent generations. To achieve reproductive capacity, male germ cell development requires coordinated changes in gene expression, including DNA methylation and generalized histone modifications. Although gene expression-related mechanisms underlying hybrid male sterility have been investigated recently, information on the cell types and stage-specific controls remains limited. Here, we used immunohistochemistry and image analyses to evaluate the 5-methylcytosine (5MC) and acetyl-histone H3 Lys9 (AcK9) expression in all spermatogonia and testicular somatic cell types to determine their roles in cattle-yak spermatogenesis. Testicular tissues from yak (1-3 years old) and backcrossed hybrids (2 years old) were used. In yak, the AcK9 expression levels increased in all cell types during maturation, but the 5MC expression levels did not change until reaching 3 years when they increased in all testicular cell types, except spermatogonia. Cattle-yak hybrids showed higher 5MC expression levels and different AcK9 expression levels in all cell types compared to the same-aged yak. These results suggested that both gene modulation by AcK9 and constant levels of DNA methylation are required for spermatogenesis during maturation in yak. Therefore, inappropriate expression levels of both AcK9 and DNA methylation might be the major factors for disruption of normal germ cell development in cattle-yak. Additionally, various modulations occurred depending on the cell type. Further experiments are needed to identify the stage-specific gene expression modulations in each cell type in yak and cattle-yak to potentially solve the infertility issue in crossbreeding. © 2021 Wiley-VCH GmbH.


    Praopilas Phakdeedindan, Manita Wittayarat, Theerawat Tharasanit, Mongkol Techakumphu, Megumi Shimazaki, Rentsenkhand Sambuu, Maki Hirata, Fuminori Tanihara, Masayasu Taniguchi, Takeshige Otoi, Yoko Sato. Aberrant levels of DNA methylation and H3K9 acetylation in the testicular cells of crossbred cattle-yak showing infertility. Reproduction in domestic animals = Zuchthygiene. 2022 Mar;57(3):304-313

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    PMID: 34854139

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