[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have generated a transgenic mouse line that expresses improved Cre recombinase (iCre) under the control of the testis-expressed gene 101 (Tex101) promoter. This transgenic mouse line was named Tex101-iCre. Using the floxed ROSA reporter mice, we found that robust Cre recombinase activity was detected in postnatal testes with weak or no activity in other tissues. Within the testis, Cre recombinase was active in spermatogenic cells as early as the prospermatogonia stage at day 1 after birth. In 30- and 60-day-old mice, positive Cre recombinase activity was detected not only in prospermatogonia but also in spermatogenic cells at later stages of spermatogenesis. There was little or no Cre activity in interstitial cells. Breeding wild-type females with homozygous floxed fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 (Fgfr2) males carrying the Tex101-iCre transgene did not produce any progeny with the floxed Fgfr2 allele. All the progeny inherited a recombined Fgfr2 allele, indicating that complete deletion of the floxed Fgfr2 allele by Tex101-iCre can be achieved in the male germline. Furthermore, FGFR2 protein was not detected in spermatocytes and spermatids of adult Fgfr2(fl/fl) ;Tex101-iCre mice. Taken together, our results suggest that the Tex101-iCre mouse line allows the inactivation of a floxed gene in spermatogenic cells in adult mice, which will facilitate the functional characterization of genes in normal spermatogenesis and male fertility.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Using an in silico approach, we identified a putative zinc finger domain-containing transcription factor (zinc finger protein 105, ZFP105) enriched in the adult mouse testis. RT-PCR analyses showed that Zfp105 was indeed highly expressed in adult mouse testis and that its expression was regulated during postnatal development. To further characterize Zfp105 expression, we generated a Zfp105:beta-galactosidase (LacZ) knock-in reporter mouse line (Zfp105(LacZ/+)) in which a Zfp105:LacZ fusion gene was expressed. Whole-mount LacZ analyses of adult Zfp105(LacZ/+) tissues showed robust LacZ staining in the testis, very weak staining in the ovary, and no staining in the spleen, liver, kidney, heart, lung, thymus, adrenal gland, uterus, or oviduct. Sectional LacZ staining showed that ZFP105 was highly expressed in pachytene spermatocytes. ZNF35, the human ortholog of Zfp105, was also highly expressed in human testis. Immunofluorescence analysis showed that ZNF35 was located primarily in the cytoplasm of male germ cells. More importantly, reduced male fertility was observed in adult Zfp105(LacZ/LacZ) mice. Histological studies showed the presence of undifferentiated spermatogenic cells in the lumen of seminiferous tubules at stage VII and in the epididymal lumen of adult Zfp105(LacZ/LacZ) mice. Taken together, our results suggest that ZFP105 is a male germ-cell factor and plays a role in male reproduction.
Molecular Reproduction and Development 02/2010; 77(6):511-20. · 2.81 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To maintain the female reproductive lifespan, the majority of ovarian primordial follicles are preserved in a quiescent state in order to provide ova for later reproductive life. However, the molecular mechanism that maintains the long quiescence of primordial follicles is poorly understood. Here we provide genetic evidence to show that the tumor suppressor tuberous sclerosis complex 1 (Tsc1), which negatively regulates mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), functions in oocytes to maintain the quiescence of primordial follicles. In mutant mice lacking the Tsc1 gene in oocytes, the entire pool of primordial follicles is activated prematurely due to elevated mTORC1 activity in the oocyte, ending up with follicular depletion in early adulthood and causing premature ovarian failure (POF). We further show that maintenance of the quiescence of primordial follicles requires synergistic, collaborative functioning of both Tsc and PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10) and that these two molecules suppress follicular activation through distinct ways. Our results suggest that Tsc/mTORC1 signaling and PTEN/PI3K (phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase) signaling synergistically regulate the dormancy and activation of primordial follicles, and together ensure the proper length of female reproductive life. Deregulation of these signaling pathways in oocytes results in pathological conditions of the ovary, including POF and infertility.
Human Molecular Genetics 10/2009; 19(3):397-410. · 7.69 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nuclear receptor subfamily 6, group A, member 1 (NR6A1) is an orphan member of the nuclear receptor superfamily and is required for normal mouse embryonic development. In adult mice, NR6A1 is predominantly expressed in spermatogenic cells and growing oocytes of the gonads and has a role in female reproduction by modulating the transcription of the oocyte-specific genes bone morphogenetic protein 15 (Bmp15) and growth differentiation factor 9 (Gdf9). In our goal to further understand the functional role of NR6A1 during postnatal development, we generated a Nr6a1:beta-galactosidase (LacZ) knockin reporter (Nr6a1(LacZ/+)) mouse line in which the Nr6a1:LacZ fusion gene was expressed and then characterized Nr6a1 expression in these reporter mice by performing LacZ staining. Our RT-PCR analyses showed that Nr6a1 was expressed in a variety of somatic tissues (e.g., oviduct and lung) other than gonads of normal adult mice. In adult Nr6a1(LacZ/+) mice, robust LacZ staining was observed in the gametes of gonads. Strong positive LacZ staining was also observed in the sperm of the epididymis, epithelial cells of the oviduct, and bronchioles within the lung. In adult Nr6a1(LacZ/+) mice, positive LacZ staining was observed in other somatic tissues, including hippocampus, cerebral cortex, cerebellum, and thalamus of brain; pars intermedia and pars anterior of pituitary; parathyroid; and islet of pancreas. NR6A1 expression in sperm within the epididymis, epithelial cells in the oviduct, and bronchioles of the lung was further confirmed by immunohistochemical studies. Nr6a1 is expressed not only in the germ cells of mouse gonads but also in a variety of somatic tissues, including epididymis, oviduct, brain, and pituitary. The extra-germ cell expression of NR6A1 makes it a less attractive contraceptive.
Biology of Reproduction 02/2009; 80(5):905-12. · 4.03 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A transgenic mouse line that expresses iCre under regulation of the Cytochrome P(450) 17alpha-hydroxylase/17, 20-lyase (Cyp17) promoter was developed as a novel transgenic mouse model for the conditional deletion of genes specifically in the theca/interstitial cells of the ovary and Leydig cells of the testis. In this report, we describe the development of Cyp17iCre mice and the application of these mice for conditional deletion of the estrogen receptor alpha (Esr1) gene in the theca/interstitial and Leydig cells of the female and male gonad, respectively. These mice will prove a powerful tool to inactivate genes in the gonad in a cell-specific manner.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Using an in silico approach, a putative nuclear receptor-interacting protein 0610009K11Rik was identified in mouse testis. We named this gene testis-specific nuclear receptor-interacting protein-1 (Tnrip-1). Tnrip-1 was predominantly expressed in the testis of adult mouse tissues. Expression of Tnrip-1 in the testis was regulated during postnatal development, with robust expression in 14-day-old or older testes. In situ hybridization analyses showed that Tnrip-1 is highly expressed in pachytene spermatocytes and spermatids. Consistent with its mRNA expression, Tnrip-1 protein was detected in adult mouse testes. Immunohistochemical studies showed that Tnrip-1 is a nuclear protein and mainly expressed in pachytene spermatocytes and round spermatids. Moreover, co-immunoprecipitation analyses showed that endogenous Tnrip-1 protein can interact with germ cell nuclear receptor (GCNF) in adult mouse testes. Our results suggest that Tnrip-1 is a testis-specific and GCNF-interacting protein which may be involved in the modulation of GCNF-mediated gene transcription in spermatogenic cells within the testis.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 03/2008; 366(4):898-904. · 2.41 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the mammalian ovary, progressive activation of primordial follicles from the dormant pool serves as the source of fertilizable ova. Menopause, or the end of female reproductive life, occurs when the primordial follicle pool is exhausted. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying follicle activation are poorly understood. We provide genetic evidence that in mice lacking PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10) in oocytes, a major negative regulator of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), the entire primordial follicle pool becomes activated. Subsequently, all primordial follicles become depleted in early adulthood, causing premature ovarian failure (POF). Our results show that the mammalian oocyte serves as the headquarters of programming of follicle activation and that the oocyte PTEN-PI3K pathway governs follicle activation through control of initiation of oocyte growth.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hedgehog (Hh) signaling emerges as a potential pathway contributing to fat formation during postnatal development. In this report, we found that Patched 1 (Ptc1), a negative regulator of Hh signaling, was expressed in the epididymal fat pad of adult mice. Reduced total white fat mass and epididymal adipocyte cell size were observed in naturally occurring spontaneous mesenchymal dysplasia (mes) adult mice (Ptc1(mes/mes)), which carry a deletion of Ptc1 at the carboxyl-terminal cytoplasmic region. Increased expression of truncated Ptc1, Ptc2 and Gli1, the indicators of ectopic activation of Hh signaling, was observed in epididymal fat pads of adult Ptc1(mes/mes) mice. In contrast, expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma, CCAAT/enhancer binding protein alpha, adipocyte P2 and adipsin were reduced in epididymal fat pads of adult Ptc1(mes/mes) mice. Taken together, our results indicate that deletion of carboxyl-terminal tail of Ptc1 can lead to the reduction of white fat mass during postnatal development.
International journal of biological sciences 02/2008; 4(1):29-36. · 3.17 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Orphan nuclear receptors such as germ cell nuclear factor (GCNF), steroidogenic factor 1 (SF-1) and liver receptor homolog-1 (LRH-1), are emerging as important ovarian factors in regulating female reproduction. Within the ovary, GCNF (NR6A1) expression is restricted to the oocyte, while SF-1 (NR5A1) is expressed only in the somatic cells, such as granulosa, thecal and luteal cells, and interstitial cells. LRH-1 (NR5A2), an orphan receptor closely related to SF-1, is expressed only in the granulosa cells of the follicles and luteal cells within the ovary. Recent studies using conditional knockout strategies to bypass the embryonic lethality of GCNF and SF-1 null mice have uncovered important roles of GCNF and SF-1 in the oocyte and granulosa cells, respectively. In this review, we will summarize the major findings of GCNF and SF-1 in the ovary from the studies of conditional GCNF and SF-1 knockout mice. The potential role of LRH-1 in the ovary is also briefly discussed. Understanding the ovarian functions of these orphan nuclear receptors may lead to the development of new agents for regulation of female fertility and new medicines for the treatment of female idiopathic infertility, premature ovarian failure, polycystic ovarian syndrome and ovarian cancer.
Frontiers in Bioscience 02/2007; 12:3398-405. · 3.29 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Oocyte-specific deletion of ovarian genes using Cre/loxP technology provides an excellent tool to understand their physiological roles during folliculogenesis, oogenesis, and preimplantation embryonic development. We have generated a transgenic mouse line expressing improved Cre recombinase (iCre) driven by the mouse growth differentiation factor-9 (GDF-9) promoter. The resulting transgenic mouse line was named GDF-9-iCre mice. Using the floxed ROSA reporter mice, we found that Cre recombinase was expressed in postnatal ovaries, but not in heart, liver, spleen, kidney, and brain. Within the ovary, the Cre recombinase was exclusively expressed in the oocytes of primordial follicles and follicles at later developmental stages. The expression of iCre of GDF-9-iCre mice was shown to be earlier than the Cre expression of Zp3Cre and Msx2Cre mice, in which the Cre gene is driven by zona pellucida protein 3 (Zp3) promoter and a homeobox gene Msx2 promoter, respectively, in the postnatal ovary. Breeding wild-type males with heterozygous floxed germ cell nuclear factor (GCNF) females carrying the GDF-9-iCre transgene did not produce any progeny having the floxed GCNF allele, indicating that complete deletion of the floxed GCNF allele can be achieved in the female germline by GDF-9-iCre mice. These results suggest that GDF-9-iCre mouse line provides an excellent genetic tool for understanding functions of oocyte-expressing genes involved in folliculogenesis, oogenesis, and early embryonic development. Comparison of the ontogeny of the Cre activities of GDF-9-iCre, Zp3Cre, and Msx2Cre transgenic mice shows there is sequential Cre activity of the three transgenes that will allow inactivation of a target gene at different points in folliculogenesis.
Biology of Reproduction 12/2004; 71(5):1469-74. · 4.03 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Two recombination steps in embryonic stem (ES) cells were adopted to generate a floxed Germ Cell Nuclear Factor (GCNF) allele. First, a targeting vector containing a loxP site upstream of exon 4, encoding the DNA binding domain (DBD), and a floxed NeoTK double selection cassette downstream of exon 4 was integrated into the GCNF locus by homologous recombination. Second, a Cre-expressing vector was transiently introduced to remove the floxed NeoTK cassette via site-specific recombination. Heterogeneous ES cell populations were found in a single colony after Cre transfection and were separated using an ES cell re-pick step. Floxed GCNF mice were generated and had normal GCNF expression in the adult gonads. Using the Msx2Cre transgenic mice, the floxed GCNF can be completely deleted in the female germline. Taken together, the floxed GCNF mice were successfully generated and female germline deletion of the floxed GCNF allele was achieved using Msx2Cre mice.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine the function of germ cell nuclear factor (GCNF) in female reproduction, we generated an oocyte-specific GCNF knockout mouse model (GCNF(fl/fl)Zp3Cre(+)). These mice displayed hypofertility due to prolonged diestrus phase of the estrous cycle and aberrant steroidogenesis. These reproductive defects were secondary to a primary defect in the oocytes, in which expression of the paracrine transforming growth factor-beta signaling molecules, bone morphogenetic protein 15 (BMP-15) and growth differentiation factor 9 (GDF-9), were up-regulated in GCNF(fl/fl)Zp3Cre(+) females at diestrus. This was a direct effect of GCNF, as molecular studies showed that GCNF bound to DR0 elements within the BMP-15 and GDF-9 gene promoters and repressed their reporter activities. Consistent with these findings, abnormal double-oocyte follicles, indicative of aberrant BMP-15/GDF-9 expression, were observed in GCNF(fl/fl)Zp3Cre(+) females. The Cre/loxP knockout of GCNF in the oocyte has uncovered a new regulatory pathway in ovarian function. Our results show that GCNF directly regulates paracrine communication between the oocyte and somatic cells by regulating the expression of BMP-15 and GDF-9, to affect female fertility.
The EMBO Journal 09/2003; 22(16):4070-81. · 9.82 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Germ cell nuclear factor (GCNF, NR6A1) is an orphan member of the nuclear receptor superfamily and functions as a repressor of gene transcription. GCNF mRNA is expressed in postgastrulation mouse embryos and is required for normal mouse embryonic development. In adult mice, GCNF transcripts are predominantly expressed in spermatogenic cells and growing oocytes of the gonads. To extend this observation to the protein level, we generated and characterized a specific antibody against GCNF. Using this antibody we found that GCNF protein was exclusively present in postmeiotic spermatogenic cells of the testis in 21- and 56-day-old mice. In the ovary, GCNF protein was present in the cytoplasm of oocytes from primary to preovulatory follicles. GCNF protein was also present in unfertilized oocytes and preimplantation embryos. The presence of GCNF protein in adult mouse gonads indicates that GCNF may play a role during gametogenesis. Our results also show that GCNF in early embryos is a maternal protein and could be involved in the regulation of zygotic gene expression and preimplantation embryonic development.
Biology of Reproduction 02/2003; 68(1):282-9. · 4.03 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Germ cell nuclear factor (GCNF), an orphan nuclear receptor, is essential for mouse embryogenesis. GCNF specifically binds to a DR0 response element via its DNA binding domain (DBD) in vitro and functions as a repressor of gene transcription. To further study the role of GCNF during embryogenesis, we have employed a Cre/loxP strategy and generated a line of GCNF mutant mice (GCNF(lox/lox)) in which the 243-base pair DBD-encoding exon has been deleted in the germline. However, the ligand binding domain (LBD) of GCNF is still expressed at the mRNA and protein levels in the GCNF(lox/lox) mice. GCNF(lox/lox) mice die at 9.5-10.5 days postcoitum. The tailbuds of these mutant embryos protrude outside the yolk sac. Expression of Oct-4 in the somatic cells of GCNF(lox/lox) embryos at 8.25 days postcoitum was not silenced as in the GCNF(+/+) embryos. Therefore, GCNF(lox/lox) mice phenocopy the GCNF(-/-) mice. Our results indicate that the DBD is essential for the function of GCNF during early mouse embryogenesis, and that the LBD does not mediate any function independent of the DBD at this stage of embryonic development. Our results also suggest that GCNF is indeed a transcriptional factor that represses gene transcription mediated via its DBD.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 01/2003; 277(52):50660-7. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During spermiogenesis, significant morphological changes occur as round spermatids are remodeled into the fusiform shape of mature spermatozoa. These changes are correlated with a reorganization of microfilaments and microtubules in the head and tail regions of elongating spermatids. There is also altered expression of specialized actin- and tubulin-associated proteins. We report the characterization of a novel, spermatid-specific murine paralog of the actin-bundling protein fascin (FSCN1); this paralog is designated testis fascin or FSCN3. Testis fascin is distantly related to fascins but retains its primary sequence organization. cDNA clones of mouse testis fascin predict a 498 amino acid protein of molecular mass 56 kD that shares 29% identity with mouse fascin. Mapping of murine and human FSCN3 genes shows localization to the 7q31.3 chromosome. Northern analysis indicates that FSCN3 expression is highly specific to testis and that in situ hybridization further restricts expression to elongating spermatids. Antibodies raised against recombinant FSCN3 protein identify a band at 56 kD in testis, epididymis, and epididymal spermatozoa, suggesting that testis fascin persists in mature spermatozoa. In accord with the in situ hybridization results, immunofluorescent microscopy localizes testis fascin protein to areas of the anterior spermatid head that match known distributions of F-actin in the dorsal and ventral subacrosomal spaces. It is possible that testis fascin may function in the terminal elongation of the spermatid head and in microfilament rearrangements that accompany fertilization.
Experimental Cell Research 05/2002; 275(1):92-109. · 3.56 Impact Factor