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Mol Reprod Dev. 1994 Oct;39(2):184-93.

The biochemical role of SRY in sex determination.

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Department of Genetics, University of Cambridge, England.


The human sex-determining gene on the Y chromosome, termed SRY, has recently been isolated by positional cloning; compelling evidence now exists equating SRY with the testis-determining factor, TDF. The SRY gene product is an HMG box protein whose DNA-binding activity is vital for testis formation as sex-reversed patients with SRY mutations lack this activity in vitro. The in vivo DNA target for SRY, however, remains elusive. Here, we show, by gel retardation analysis, that SRY recognises specific DNA sequences and that such sequences exist upstream of the AMH promoter, a potential downstream target for SRY. We also describe the DNA bending and cruciform DNA-binding functions of SRY and propose a model for the potential action of SRY in the "HMG-1-rich" mammalian nucleus.

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