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NOBOX Deficiency Disrupts Early Folliculogenesis and Oocyte-Specific Gene Expression

Science  20 Aug 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5687, pp. 1157-1159
DOI: 10.1126/science.1099755

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Abstract

Primordial ovarian follicles in mice form when somatic cells surround individual oocytes. We show that lack of Nobox, an oocyte-specific homeobox gene, accelerates postnatal oocyte loss and abolishes the transition from primordial to growing follicles in mice. Follicles are replaced by fibrous tissue in female mice lacking Nobox in a manner similar to nonsyndromic ovarian failure in women. Genes preferentially expressed in oocytes, including Oct4 and Gdf9, are down-regulated in Nobox–/– mice, whereas ubiquitous genes such as Bmp4, Kit, and Bax remain unaffected. Therefore, Nobox is critical for specifying an oocyte-restricted gene expression pattern essential for postnatal follicle development.

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