Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

U of M researchers discover gene required to maintain male sex throughout life

21.07.2011
Researchers find that loss of gene Dmrt1 leads to male cells becoming female

University of Minnesota Medical School and College of Biological Sciences researchers have made a key discovery showing that male sex must be maintained throughout life.

The research team, led by Drs. David Zarkower and Vivian Bardwell of the U of M Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development, found that removing an important male development gene, called Dmrt1, causes male cells in mouse testis to become female cells.

The findings are published online today in Nature.

In mammals, sex chromosomes (XX in female, XY in male) determine the future sex of the animal during embryonic development by establishing whether the gonads will become testes or ovaries.

"Scientists have long assumed that once the sex determination decision is made in the embryo, it's final," Zarkower said. "We have now discovered that when Dmrt1 is lost in mouse testes – even in adults – many male cells become female cells and the testes show signs of becoming more like ovaries."

Previous research has shown that removing a gene, called Foxl2, in ovaries caused female cells to become male cells and the ovaries to become more like testes. According to Zarkower, the latest U of M research determines that the gonads of both sexes must actively maintain the original sex determination decision throughout the remainder of life.

For the genetic research community this new understanding is a breakthrough. The findings provide new insight into how to turn one cell type into another, a process known as reprogramming, and also show that throughout life, cells in the testis must be actively prevented from transforming into female cells normally found in the ovary.

"This work shows that sex determination in mammals can be surprisingly prone to change, and must be actively maintained throughout an organism's lifetime," said Dr. Susan Haynes, who oversees developmental biology grants at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health. "These new insights have important implications for our understanding of how to reprogram cells to take on different identities, and may shed light on the origin of some human sex reversal disorders."

The new findings may force the scientific community to reconsider how disorders involving human sex-reversal occur. Some of these disorders may not result from errors in the original sex determination decision in the embryo, but instead may result from failure to maintain that decision later in embryonic development. In addition, because DMRT1 has been associated with human gonadal cancers, the researchers hope their findings will provide another clue into how gonadal cancer develops.

Drs. Clinton Matson and Mark Murphy of the Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development, and Dr. Aaron Sarver of the U of M Masonic Cancer Center were instrumental in performing these studies. The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

Kelly O'Connor | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.umn.edu

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

DGIST develops 20 times faster biosensor

24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Nanoimprinted hyperlens array: Paving the way for practical super-resolution imaging

24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Atomic-level motion may drive bacteria's ability to evade immune system defenses

24.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>