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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Feb 27;104(9):3330-5. Epub 2007 Feb 20.

Potential targets of FOXL2, a transcription factor involved in craniofacial and follicular development, identified by transcriptomics.

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Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale U567, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Unité Mixte de Recherche 8104, and Faculté de Médecine René Descartes, Université Paris V UM 3, 75014 Paris, France.


FOXL2 is a gene encoding a forkhead transcription factor, whose mutations are responsible for the blepharophimosis-ptosis-epicanthus inversus syndrome that often involves premature ovarian failure. FOXL2 is one of the earliest ovarian markers and it offers, along with its targets, an excellent model to study ovarian development and function in normal and pathological conditions. We have recently shown that the aromatase gene is a target of FOXL2, and only three other targets have been reported so far. To detect potential transcriptional targets of FOXL2, we used DNA chips and quantitative PCR to compare the transcriptomes of granulosa-like cells overexpressing, or not, FOXL2. This analysis showed that mediators of inflammation, apoptotic and transcriptional regulators, genes involved in cholesterol metabolism, and genes encoding enzymes and transcription factors involved in reactive oxygen species detoxification were up-regulated. On the other hand, FOXL2 down-regulated the transcription of several genes involved in proteolysis and signal transduction and in transcription regulation. A bioinformatic analysis was conducted to discriminate between potential target promoters activated and repressed by FOXL2. In addition, the promoters of strongly activated genes were enriched in forkhead recognition sites, suggesting that these genes might be direct FOXL2 targets. Altogether, these results provide insight into the activity of FOXL2 and may help in understanding the mechanisms of pathogenesis of FOXL2 mutations if the targets prove to be the same in the ovary.

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