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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Dec 6, 1994; 91(25): 12258–12262.

Isolation of a DEAD-family protein gene that encodes a murine homolog of Drosophila vasa and its specific expression in germ cell lineage.


In an effort to study the molecular basis of the determination processes of the mammalian germ cell lineage, we have tried to isolate a mouse gene homolog to vasa, which plays an essential role as a maternal determining factor for the formation of Drosophila germ cell precursors. By reverse transcriptase PCRs of mouse primordial germ cell cDNAs using family-specific primers, we obtained a gene (Mvh) encoding a DEAD-family protein that showed a much higher degree of similarity with the product of the Drosophila vasa gene (vas) than previously reported mouse genes. In adult tissues, Mvh transcripts were exclusively detected in testicular germ cells, in which Mvh protein was found to be localized in cytoplasm of spermatocytes and round spermatids including a perinuclear granule. The protein was also expressed in germ cells colonized in embryonic gonads but was not detected in pluripotential embryonic cells such as stem cells and germ cells. These results suggest the possibility that the Mvh protein may play an important role in the determination events of mouse germ cells as in the case of Drosophila vasa.

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Selected References

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