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Dev Biol. 1993 May;157(1):100-9.

The murine steel panda mutation affects kit ligand expression and growth of early ovarian follicles.

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Molecular Biology Program, Sloan Kettering Institute, New York, New York.


Mutations at the murine steel (Sl) locus encoding the ligand for the c-kit receptor result in defects in gametogenesis, hematopoiesis, and melanogenesis. Steel Panda (Slpan) is an allele at the Sl locus obtained by an X-ray mutagenesis protocol. Slpan/Slpan homozygotes are mildly anemic black-eyed whites with pigmented ears and scrotum; females are sterile while males are fertile. To investigate the basis of the phenotype of the Slpan mutation, the coding region of the kit ligand (KL) in Slpan/Slpan animals was characterized and shown to be identical to that from +/+ mice. RNA expression patterns in adult Slpan/Slpan mice were investigated by RNA blot analysis and RNase protection assays. KL RNA expression was shown to be reduced in several tissues including testis, lung, and kidney, to about 60% in heterozygotes and 20% in homozygous mutant mice. Intermediate effects were seen in cerebellum and spleen, while in heart and brain no change was apparent. Therefore, the Slpan mutation affects KL RNA levels in a tissue-specific manner. Histological analysis showed that the number of oocytes in neonatal homozygotes was reduced to 20% of that in heterozygotes, and that in juvenile and adult mice ovarian follicle development was arrested at the one-layered cuboidal stage, with a few exceptions. KL production by central cords of the perinatal ovary was severely reduced as shown by immunohistochemistry. In neonatal testes of homozygotes, the germ cell number was reduced to 30% of that in heterozygotes, but meiotic spermatocytes were produced on schedule in juvenile animals. Therefore, a reduced level of KL in Slpan/Slpan ovary arrests ovarian follicle development, while a similar reduction in testes has relatively little effect on spermatogonial development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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