Jon Oatley

Professor; Director, Center for Reproductive Biology, WSU

Room: BLS 302E
Phone: 509-335-0499
Room: BLS 240
Phone: 509-335-6462

Jon Oatley


In mammals, homeostasis relies on stem cells replenishing tissue lineages with differentiating cells that are continually lost due to cytotoxic injury and terminal differentiation. In embryonic and neonatal development these stem cells are also tasked with establishing tissue lineages while setting aside a self-renewing population that will remain undifferentiated and be sustained throughout life. To carry out their functions, stem cells possess the capacity for both self-renewal to maintain a pool of stem cells and generation of progenitor cells that are set on a pathway of differentiation. These fate decisions are tightly regulated by influences from microenvironments referred to as ‘niches’. In general, stem cell niches are themselves tissue-specific being composed of a growth factor milieu and architectural support that are dictated by resident support cells. The possible immortal nature of stem cells provides a potential avenue for regenerative medicine to treat a variety of degenerative diseases caused by loss of tissue homeostasis. Achieving this goal relies on the deciphering of molecular mechanisms within stem cells that control fate decisions and defining the components that constitute niche microenvironments.

Spermatogenesis is a classic model of tissue-specific stem cell biology relying on the activity of spermatogonial stem cells and support from their cognate niche that is provided by contributions from testis somatic cell populations. Also, spermatogenesis is essential for the continuity of a species, contributes to genetic diversity, and determines sex ratios in most mammalian populations. Reduction in or loss of spermatogonial stem cell function disrupts spermatogenesis leading to sub-fertility or infertility in males. In addition, because spermatogonial stem cells are the only cells in the body that self-renew and contribute genes to the next generation, they provide an avenue to alter genes within a male’s germline. Aside from medical implications in humans, preservation of genetic lines of endangered species and expanded use of gametes from valuable food or companion animals represents a potential application of spermatogonial stem cell populations utilizing their capacity for regeneration of male germlines upon transplantation. Furthermore, information gained from studying spermatogonial stem cells may be applicable to other tissue-specific stem cell populations.

Select Publications
  • Agrimson KS, Oatley MJ, Mitchell D, Oatley JM, Griswold MD, Hogarth CA. (2017) Retinoic acid deficiency leads to an increase in spermatogonial stem number in the neonatal mouse testis, but excess retinoic acid results in no change Dev Biol. 432(2):229-236. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2017.10.002. Epub 2017 Oct 14. PMID: 29037932 PMCID: PMC5736010 Article
  • Helsel AR, Oatley MJ, Oatley JM. (2017) Glycolysis optimized conditions enhance maintenance of regenerative integrity in mouse spermatogonial stem cells during long-term culture Stem Cell Reports 8(5):1430-1441. doi: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2017.03.004. Epub 2017 Apr 6. PMID: 28392219 PMCID: PMC5425612 Article
  • Helsel AR, Yang QE, Oatley MJ, Lord T, Sablitzky F, Oatley JM. (2017)  ID4 levels dictate the stem cell state in mouse spermatogonia Development. 144(4):624-634. doi: 10.1242/dev.146928. Epub 2017 Jan 13. PMID: 28087628 PMCID: PMC5312040 Article
  • Park KE, Kaucher AV, Powell A, Waqas MS, Sandmaier SE, Oatley MJ, Park CH, Tibary A, Donovan DM, Blomberg LA, Lillico SG, Whitelaw CB, Mileham A, Telugu BP, Oatley JM. (2017)  Generation of germline ablated male pigs by CRISPR/Cas9 editing of the NANOS2 gene Sci Rep 7:40176. doi: 10.1038/srep40176. PMID: 28071690 PMCID: PMC5223215 Article
  • Mutoji K, Singh A, Nguyen T, Gildersleeve H, Kaucher AV, Oatley MJ, Oatley JM, Velte EK, Geyer CB, Cheng K, McCarrey JR, Hermann BP. (2016) TSPAN8 expression distinguishes spermatogonial stem cells in the prepubertal testis Biol Reprod. 95(6):117. Epub 2016 Oct 12. PMID: 27733379 PMCID: PMC5315423 Article
  • Zhang T, Oatley J, Bardwell VJ, Zarkower D. (2016) DMRT1 is required for mouse spermatogonial stem cell maintenance and replenishment PLoS Genet. 12(9):e1006293. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1006293. eCollection 2016 Sep. PMID: 27583450 PMCID: PMC5008761 Article
  • Oatley MJ, Kaucher AV, Yang QE, Waqas MS, Oatley JM. (2016) Conditions for long-term culture of cattle undifferentiated spermatogonia Biol Reprod 95(1):14. doi: 10.1095/biolreprod.116.139832. Epub 2016 Jun 1. PMID: 27251094 PMCID: Article
  • Hammoud SS, Low DH, Yi C, Lee CL, Oatley JM, Payne CJ, Carrell DT, Guccione E, Cairns BR. (2015) Transcription and Imprinting Dynamics in Developing Postnatal Male Germline Stem Cells Genes Dev. 29(21):2312-24. doi: 10.1101/gad.261925.115. PMID: 26545815 PMCID: PMC4647563 Article
  • Geister KA, Brinkmeier ML, Cheung LY, Wendt J, Oatley MJ, Burgess DL, Kozloff KM, Cavalcoli JD, Oatley JM, Camper SA. (2015) LINE-1 mediated insertion into poc1a (protein of centriole 1 a) causes growth insufficiency and male infertility in mice PLoS Genet. 11(10):e1005569. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1005569. eCollection 2015 Oct. PMID: 26496357 PMCID: PMC4619696 Article
  • Hermann BP, Mutoji KN, Velte EK, Ko D, Oatley JM, Geyer CB, McCarrey JR. (2015) Transcriptional and translational heterogeneity among neonatal mouse spermatogonia. Biol Reprod 92(2):54. doi: 10.1095/biolreprod.114.125757. Epub 2015 Jan 7. PMID: 25568304 PMCID: PMC4342790 Article
  • Yang QE, Nagaoka SI, Gwost I, Hunt PA, Oatley JM (2015) Inactivation of Retinoblastoma Protein (Rb1) in the Oocyte: Evidence That Dysregulated Follicle Growth Drives Ovarian Teratoma Formation in Mice. PLoS Genet. 11(7) PMID: 26176933 PMCID: PMC4503754 Article
  • Oatley MJ, Kaucher AV, Racicot KE, Oatley JM. (2011) Inhibitor of DNA binding 4 is expressed selectively by single spermatogonia in the male germline and regulates the self-renewal of spermatogonial stem cells in mice. Biol. Reprod. Epub Ahead of Print. PMID: PMCID: Article
  • Oatley MJ, Racicot KE, Oatley JM. (2011) Sertoli cells dictate spermatogonial stem cell niches in the mouse testis. Biol. Reprod. 84: 639-645. PMID: PMCID: Article
  • Oatley JM, Kaucher AV, Avarbock MR, Brinster RL. (2010) Regulation of spermatogonial stem cell differentiation by STAT3 signaling. Biol. Reprod. 83: 427-433. PMID: PMCID: Article
  • Wu X, Oatley JM, Oatley MJ, Kaucher AV, Avarbock MR, Brinster RL. (2010) The POU domain transcription factor POU3F1 is an important regulator of GDNF induced survival and self-renewal of mouse spermatogonial stem cells. Biol. Reprod. 82: 1103-1111. PMID: PMCID: Article
  • Oatley JM, Oatley MJ, Avarbock MR, Tobias JW, Brinster RL. (2009) Colony stimulating factor 1 is an extrinsic regulator of mouse spermatogonial stem cell self-renewal. Development 136: 1191-1199. PMID: PMCID: Article
  • Schmidt JA, Oatley JM, Brinster RL. (2009) Female mice delay reproductive aging in males. Biol. Reprod. 80: 1009-1014. PMID: PMCID: Article
  • Oatley JM, Brinster RL. (2008) Regulation of spermatogonial stem cell self-renewal in mammals. Ann. Rev. Cell Dev. Biol. 24: 263-286. PMID: PMCID: Article
  • Oatley JM, Avarbock MR, Brinster RL. (2007) Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor regulation of genes essential for mouse spermatogonial stem cell self-renewal is dependent on Src family kinase signaling. J. Biol. Chem. 282: 25842-25851. PMID: PMCID: Article
  • Oatley JM, Avarbock MR, Telaranta AI, Fearon DT, Brinster RL. (2006) Identifying genes important for spermatogonial stem cell self-renewal and survival. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 103: 9524-9529. PMID: PMCID: Article
  • Ryu B-Y, Orwig KE, Oatley JM, Avarbock MR, Brinster RL. (2006) Effects of aging and niche microenvironment on spermatogonial stem cell self-renewal. Stem Cells 24: 1505-1511. PMID: PMCID: Article
  • Oatley, JM, Brinster RL. (2006) Spermatogonial Stem Cells. Methods Enzymol. 419:259-282. PMID: PMCID: Article


WSU FGI Footer