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Somatic cell-derived BMPs induce male germ cell meiosis initiation during embryonic stage via regulating Dazl expression

By Lianjun Zhang, Yaqiong Li, Yuqiong Hu, Limei Lin, Jingjing Zhou, Min Chen, Yan Qin, Yang Zhou, Xiuhong Cui, Fuchou Tang, Fei Gao

Posted 02 Mar 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.03.01.971937

Germ cell fate is believed to be determined by the signaling from sexually differentiated somatic cell. However, the molecular mechanism remains elusive. In this study, ectopic initiation of meiosis in male germ cells was observed during embryonic stage by over-activating CTNNB1 in Sertoli cells. Somatic cell transcriptome and single germ cell RNA-seq analysis indicated that TGF-β signaling was activated after CTNNB1 over-activation. In vitro and in vivo experiments confirmed somatic cell-derived BMPs played crucial roles in germ cell meiosis initiation. Further studies revealed that Dazl was significantly increased in germ cells of CTNNB1 over-activated testes and induced by BMP signaling. DNMT3a and DNA methylation was also reduced in germ cells of CTNNB1 over-activated testes and inreased by BMP signaling inhibitor treatment Taken together, this study demonstrates that germ cell fate could be reprogrammed after sex determination. BMP signaling pathway is involved in germ cell meiosis initiation via up-regulating Dazl expression.

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