Somatic sex reprogramming of adult ovaries to testes by FOXL2 ablation

Uhlenhaut, N. Henriette, Jacob, Susanne, Anlag, Katrin, Eisenberger, Tobias, Sekido, Ryohei, Kress, Jana, Treier, Anna-Corina, Klugmann, Claudia, Klasen, Christian, Holter, Nadine I., Riethmacher, Dieter, Schütz, Günther, Cooney, Austin J., Lovell-Badge, Robin and Treier, Mathias (2009) Somatic sex reprogramming of adult ovaries to testes by FOXL2 ablation. Cell, 139, (6), 1130-1142. (doi:10.1016/j.cell.2009.11.021). (PMID:20005806).


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In mammals, the transcription factor SRY, encoded by the Y chromosome, is normally responsible for triggering the indifferent gonads to develop as testes rather than ovaries. However, testis differentiation can occur in its absence. Here we demonstrate in the mouse that a single factor, the forkhead transcriptional regulator FOXL2, is required to prevent transdifferentiation of an adult ovary to a testis. Inducible deletion of Foxl2 in adult ovarian follicles leads to immediate upregulation of testis-specific genes including the critical SRY target gene Sox9. Concordantly, reprogramming of granulosa and theca cell lineages into Sertoli-like and Leydig-like cell lineages occurs with testosterone levels comparable to those of normal XY male littermates. Our results show that maintenance of the ovarian phenotype is an active process throughout life. They might also have important medical implications for the understanding and treatment of some disorders of sexual development in children and premature menopause in women.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1016/j.cell.2009.11.021
ISSNs: 0092-8674 (print)
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH426 Genetics
R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Medicine > Human Genetics
ePrint ID: 71591
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
11 December 2009Published
19 July 2009Submitted
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2009
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:03

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