GATA-like protein-1 (GLP-1) is required for normal germ cell development during embryonic oogenesis

Tamara J. Strauss, Diego H. Castrillon, Stephen R. Hammes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Oogenesis and primordial follicle formation are tightly linked processes, requiring organized and precisely timed communication between somatic and germ cells. Deviations in ovarian cell cross talk, or aberrant gene expression within one of the cell populations, can lead to follicle loss or dysfunction, resulting in infertility. Expression of GATA-like protein-1 (GLP-1) in ovarian somatic cells is required for normal fertility in female mice, as GLP-1 deficiency leads to the absence of oocytes at birth. However, the timing and nature of this germ cell loss is not well understood. In this study, we characterize the embryonic germ cell loss in GLP-1 null mice. Quantitative PCR demonstrates that ovarian Glp-1 mRNA is expressed in a bimodal pattern during embryogenesis, peaking at E13.5-14.5 and again at birth. In contrast, adult ovaries express low but detectable levels of Glp-1 mRNA. Analysis of developing GLP-1 null mouse ovaries shows that germ cells are appropriately specified and migrate normally to nascent gonads. Upon arrival at the gonad, precocious loss of germ cells begins at around E13.5. This loss is completed by birth and is accompanied by defects in the expression of genes associated with meiotic entry. Interestingly, somatic pregranulosa cells still form basement membranes surrounding germ line cysts and express mRNA encoding paracrine signaling molecules that communicate with oocytes, albeit at lower levels than normal. Together, these data imply that the somatic cell protein GLP-1 is not necessary for many pregranulosa cell functions but is required for germ cell survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-181
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Embryology
  • Endocrinology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Cell Biology


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