Cell adhesion molecules expression pattern indicates that somatic cells arbitrate gonadal sex of differentiating bipotential fetal mouse gonad

Rafal P. Piprek, Michal Kolasa, Dagmara Podkowa, Malgorzata Kloc, Jacek Z. Kubiak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Unlike other organ anlagens, the primordial gonad is sexually bipotential in all animals. In mouse, the bipotential gonad differentiates into testis or ovary depending on the genetic sex (XY or XX) of the fetus. During gonad development cells segregate, depending on genetic sex, into distinct compartments: testis cords and interstitium form in XY gonad, and germ cell cysts and stroma in XX gonad. However, our knowledge of mechanisms governing gonadal sex differentiation remains very vague. Because it is known that adhesion molecules (CAMs) play a key role in organogenesis, we suspected that diversified expression of CAMs should also play a crucial role in gonad development. Using microarray analysis we identified 129 CAMs and factors regulating cell adhesion during sexual differentiation of mouse gonad. To identify genes expressed differentially in three cell lines in XY and XX gonads: i) supporting (Sertoli or follicular cells), ii) interstitial or stromal cells, and iii) germ cells, we used transgenic mice expressing EGFP reporter gene and FACS cell sorting. Although a large number of CAMs expressed ubiquitously, expression of certain genes was cell line- and genetic sex-specific. The sets of CAMs differentially expressed in supporting versus interstitial/stromal cells may be responsible for segregation of these two cell lines during gonadal development. There was also a significant difference in CAMs expression pattern between XY supporting (Sertoli) and XX supporting (follicular) cells but not between XY and XX germ cells. This indicates that differential CAMs expression pattern in the somatic cells but not in the germ line arbitrates structural organization of gonadal anlagen into testis or ovary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-27
Number of pages11
JournalMechanisms of Development
Volume147
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2017

Keywords

  • Cell adhesion molecules
  • Germ cells
  • Interstitium
  • Ovary
  • Sertoli cells
  • Testis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Embryology
  • Developmental Biology

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