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The roles of microRNAs in regulation of mammalian spermatogenesis.

ABSTRACT

Mammalian spermatogenesis contains three continuous and organized processes, by which spermatogonia undergo mitosis and differentiate to spermatocytes, follow on meiosis to form haploid spermatids and ultimately transform into spermatozoa. These processes require an accurately, spatially and temporally regulated gene expression patterns. The microRNAs are a novel class of post-transcriptional regulators. Cumulating evidences have demonstrated that microRNAs are expressed in a cell-specific or stage-specific manner during spermatogenesis. In this review, we focus on the roles of microRNAs in spermatogenesis. We highlight that N6-methyladenosine (m6A) is involved in the biogenesis of microRNAs and miRNA regulates the m6A modification on mRNA, and that specific miRNAs have been exploited as potential biomarkers for the male factor infertility, which will provide insightful understanding of microRNA roles in spermatogenesis.