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Eur J Endocrinol. 2002 Sep;147(3):397-406.

Developmental expression and spermatogenic stage specificity of transcription factors GATA-1 and GATA-4 and their cofactors FOG-1 and FOG-2 in the mouse testis.

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Children's Hospital and Program for Developmental and Reproductive Biology, Biomedicum Helsinki, University of Helsinki, 00290 Helsinki, Finland.



The transcription factors GATA-1 and GATA-4 have been implicated in the regulation of testicular development and function. Their cofactors FOG-1 and FOG-2 are expressed in the gonads, but their cell-specific and developmental expression in the testis remains unresolved. Therefore, we analyzed GATA-1, GATA-4, FOG-1 and FOG-2 expression in detail, from undifferentiated male urogenital ridge to adult testis.


Immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization were applied on mouse testicular samples.


GATA-4 and FOG-2, but not GATA-1 or FOG-1, were expressed as early as in the male urogenital ridge. FOG-2 expression was localized in the Sertoli cells at embryonal day 12.5 (E12.5), but it diminished with advancing fetal testicular development. In E17.5 testis, FOG-2 was present only in the testicular capsule and a subset of fetal Leydig cells. FOG-1 was expressed from E15.5 Sertoli cells onwards, whereas GATA-1 was not detected during the fetal period at all. In the postnatal testis, FOG-2 was abundantly expressed immediately after birth, but in adult testis its expression was predominantly restricted to stage VII-XII seminiferous tubules. Stage specificity was also found for FOG-1, which, similarly to GATA-1, was abundantly expressed in stage VII-XII tubules during adulthood.


Our results indicate that FOG-2, in addition to GATA-4, has a role in early gonadal development and sexual differentiation, and FOG-1 at later fetal stages, while GATA-1 executes its action postnatally. The findings suggest that, in contrast to the hematopoietic system and the heart, GATA-1 and GATA-4 do not use FOG-1 and FOG-2 respectively as their only cofactors during the early stages of testicular development.

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