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Mol Reprod Dev. 2005 Nov;72(3):320-8.

Characterization of pig vasa homolog gene and specific expression in germ cell lineage.

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  • 1Department of Theriogenology and Biotechnology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.


The vasa gene is known to be an important factor for germ cell development in both invertebrates and vertebrates. In the present study, we cloned the porcine vasa homolog (Pvh, 2,172 bps) and investigated its expression at mRNA and protein levels. The isolated cDNA had deduced 724 amino acid residues with significant homology to mouse (85%) and human (91%) vasa. In adult tissues, Pvh transcript was restricted to the ovary and testis, and was undetectable in somatic tissues. During preimplantation embryo development, Pvh was transcribed in oocytes and fertilized 2-cell embryos, but not in other preimplantation embryos. In fetal stage, the transcript of Pvh gene was expressed in all fetal stage, except in day 17-18. Immunohistochemical analysis of fetal and adult gonad revealed that the Pvh protein was localized in oocytes and spermatocytes, consistent with mRNA expression. Interestingly, Pvh protein was also observed in proliferating primordial germ cells (PGCs) and freshly isolated PGCs, but not in embryonic germ cells. Our results suggest that Pvh gene can be a useful marker for germ cell development in pigs.

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