Recent studies in mammals have revealed the heterogeneity of spermatogonial populations which contain differentiated and undifferentiated cells that further divide into actual stem cells and potential stem cells. In fish however, there are no functional definitions, and very few molecular markers, for germ cells. In our present study, specific antibodies were raised against Sycp3, Plzf and Cyclin B3 in zebrafish and then used to determine the localization of these proteins in the testis. We wished to confirm whether these molecules were potential markers for spermatocytes and spermatogonia. Immunohistochemical observations revealed that Sycp3 is specifically localized in spermatocytes in typical nuclear patterns at each meiotic stage. Plzf was found to be localized in the nucleus of both type A and type B spermatogonia until the 8-cell clone, similar to the pattern in Plzf-positive Asingle-Aaligned undifferentiated spermatogonia in rodents. In addition to Plzf, the localization of Cyclin B3 was predominantly detected in the nuclei of type A and early type B spermatogonia until the 16-cell clone. Additionally, Cyclin B3 protein signals were detected in germ cells in large cysts, possibly corresponding to spermatocytes at the preleptotene stage. Our present data thus show that these molecules have properties that will enable their use as markers of spermatocytes and early spermatogonia in zebrafish.
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