Conserved Role of nanos Proteins in Germ Cell Development

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Science  29 Aug 2003:
Vol. 301, Issue 5637, pp. 1239-1241
DOI: 10.1126/science.1085222

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In Drosophila, maternally supplied Nanos functions in the migration of primordial germ cells (PGCs) into the gonad; in mice, zygotic genes are involved instead. We report the cloning and the functional analyses of nanos2 and nanos3 in mice. These genes are differentially expressed in mouse PGCs. nanos2 is predominantly expressed in male germ cells, and the elimination of this gene results in a complete loss of spermatogonia. However, nanos3 is found in migrating PGCs, and the elimination of this factor results in the complete loss of germ cells in both sexes. Hence, although mice and flies differ in their mechanisms for germ cell specification, there seems to be conserved function for nanos proteins among invertebrates and vertebrates.

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