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Identification of the genes regulated by Wnt-4, a critical signal for commitment of the ovary.

TitleIdentification of the genes regulated by Wnt-4, a critical signal for commitment of the ovary.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsNaillat F, Yan W, Karjalainen R, Liakhovitskaia A, Samoylenko A, Xu Q, Sun Z, Shen B, Medvinsky AL, Quaggin S, Vainio SJ
JournalExp Cell Res
Date Published2015 Mar 15

The indifferent mammalian embryonic gonad generates an ovary or testis, but the factors involved are still poorly known. The Wnt-4 signal represents one critical female determinant, since its absence leads to partial female-to-male sex reversal in mouse, but its signalling is as well implicated in the testis development. We used the Wnt-4 deficient mouse as a model to identify candidate gonadogenesis genes, and found that the Notum, Phlda2, Runx-1 and Msx1 genes are typical of the wild-type ovary and the Osr2, Dach2, Pitx2 and Tacr3 genes of the testis. Strikingly, the expression of these latter genes becomes reversed in the Wnt-4 knock-out ovary, suggesting a role in ovarian development. We identified the transcription factor Runx-1 as a Wnt-4 signalling target gene, since it is expressed in the ovary and is reduced upon Wnt-4 knock-out. Consistent with this, introduction of the Wnt-4 signal into early ovary cells ex vivo induces Runx-1 expression, while conversely Wnt-4 expression is down-regulated in the absence of Runx-1. We conclude that the Runx-1 gene can be a Wnt-4 signalling target, and that Runx-1 and Wnt-4 are mutually interdependent in their expression. The changes in gene expression due to the absence of Wnt-4 in gonads reflect the sexually dimorphic role of this signal and its complex gene network in mammalian gonad development.

Alternate JournalExp. Cell Res.
PubMed ID25645944
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