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J Biochem. 2005 Jul;138(1):13-9.

From SRY to SOX9: mammalian testis differentiation.

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Department of Veterinary Anatomy, The University of Tokyo, Yayoi 1-1-1, Tokyo 113-8657.


Sry (sex-determining region on the Y chromosome) is a master gene that initiates testis differentiation of the bipotential indifferent gonad in mammals. In mice, Sry expression is transiently activated in a center-to-pole wave along the anteroposterior (AP) axis of developing XY gonads. Shortly after the onset of Sry activation, Sox9 (Sry-related HMG box-9), a fundamental testis-differentiation gene common to all vertebrates, is also activated in a center-to-pole pattern similar to the initial Sry expression profile. Several male-specific cellular events, such as glycogenesis, coelomic epithelium proliferation, mesonephric migration and vasculogenesis, are induced in XY gonads following the onset of Sry and Sox9 expression. This paper mainly focuses on recent advances in elucidating the regulatory mechanisms of Sry and Sox9 expression and male-specific cellular events immediately downstream of SRY action during the initial phases of testis differentiation.

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