Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Male, female sex cell determination requires lifelong maintenance, protection

Date:
May 22, 2014
Source:
University of Minnesota Academic Health Center
Summary:
The way in which the sex of an organism is determined may require lifelong maintenance, finds new research. Sex-specific transcription factors perform lifelong work to maintain sexual determination and protect against reprogramming of cells from one sex to the other. Using a mouse model, researchers found the sex of gonadal cells -- those found in the ovaries or testes -- require maintenance throughout life. This research also showed loss of a single transcription factor can result in the transformation of male cells into female cells.

The way in which the sex of an organism is determined may require lifelong maintenance, finds new research from the University of Minnesota. According to the study published today in the journal Developmental Cell, sex-specific transcription factors perform lifelong work to maintain sexual determination and protect against reprogramming of cells from one sex to the other.

Previous research at the University of Minnesota's Department of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development showed sex determination is not permanent. Using a mouse model, researchers found the sex of gonadal cells -- those found in the ovaries or testes -- require maintenance throughout life. This research also showed loss of a single transcription factor can result in the transformation of male cells into female cells.

"DMRT1 in the testis and FOXL2 in the ovary have been identified as key transcription factors responsible for maintaining sexual differentiation. What we asked in this study was how the cells maintain sexual differentiation and why their sex determination requires continuous protection," said David Zarkower, Ph.D., principal author and director of the Developmental Biology Center at the University of Minnesota.

Zarkower's research team took a closer look at DMRT1 and determined it partners with the male fetal sex determination gene called Sox9 to maintain male sexual determination after birth in a mouse model. Part of that work includes silencing genes normally involved in the female fetal sex determination process. This discovery indicates lifelong sex determination maintenance requires a process related to prenatal sex determination.

Another notable discovery is DMRT1's ability to limit retinoic acid (RA) signaling, preventing RA from activating genes normally involved in female sex determination and female organ development.

"While RA signaling between cells is absolutely required for sperm production and male fertility, we found that RA also has a dark side. If DMRT1 is not there to act as a guardian of maleness, RA has the potential to activate genes driving male-to-female transdifferentiation," said Zarkower. "This shows cell signaling can transform the identities of the very cells that use it from male to female. We think other cell types may also require similar mechanisms allowing them to use critical signaling molecules without becoming reprogrammed."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Minnesota Academic Health Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Anna Minkina, ClintonK. Matson, RobinE. Lindeman, NorbertB. Ghyselinck, VivianJ. Bardwell, David Zarkower. DMRT1 Protects Male Gonadal Cells from Retinoid-Dependent Sexual Transdifferentiation. Developmental Cell, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2014.04.017

Cite This Page:

University of Minnesota Academic Health Center. "Male, female sex cell determination requires lifelong maintenance, protection." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140522175735.htm>.
University of Minnesota Academic Health Center. (2014, May 22). Male, female sex cell determination requires lifelong maintenance, protection. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140522175735.htm
University of Minnesota Academic Health Center. "Male, female sex cell determination requires lifelong maintenance, protection." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140522175735.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
More People Diagnosed With TB In 2013, But There's Good News

More People Diagnosed With TB In 2013, But There's Good News

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) The World Health Organizations says TB numbers rose in 2013, but it's partly due to better detection and more survivors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins