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FIGLA, a basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor, balances sexually dimorphic gene expression in postnatal oocytes.

Maintenance of sex-specific germ cells requires balanced activation and repression of genetic hierarchies to ensure gender-appropriate development in mammals. Figla (factor in the germ line, alpha) encodes a germ cell-specific basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor first identified as an activator of oocyte genes. In comparing the ovarian proteome of normal and Figla null newborn mice, 18 testis-specific or -enhanced proteins were identified that were more abundant in Figla null ovaries than in normal ovaries. Transgenic mice, ectopically expressing Figla in male germ cells, downregulated a subset of these genes and demonstrated age-related sterility associated with impaired meiosis and germ cell apoptosis. Testis-associated genes, including Tdrd1, Tdrd6, and Tdrd7, were suppressed in the transgenic males with a corresponding disruption of the sperm chromatoid body and mislocalization of MVH and MILI proteins, previously implicated in posttranscriptional processing of RNA. These data demonstrate that physiological expression of Figla plays a critical dual role in activation of oocyte-associated genes and repression of sperm-associated genes during normal postnatal oogenesis.

Pubmed ID: 20479125


  • Hu W
  • Gauthier L
  • Baibakov B
  • Jimenez-Movilla M
  • Dean J


Molecular and cellular biology

Publication Data

July 25, 2010

Associated Grants

  • Agency: Intramural NIH HHS, Id:

Mesh Terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Alcohols
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Oocytes
  • Oogenesis
  • Ovary
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Testis