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Li Chen, Jiajia Bi, Masaaki Nakai, David Bunick, John F Couse, Kenneth S Korach, and Romana A Nowak

Basigin plays important roles in both male and female reproduction because basigin (Bsg) null male and female mice are infertile. The aim of the present study was to determine whether basigin expression in reproductive organs requires estrogen receptor-α (ESR1, ERα) or -β (ESR2, ERβ). Expression of basigin protein in the testis, ovary, and male and female reproductive tracts was studied in adult wild-type (WT), Esr1-null (αERKO), and Esr2-null (βERKO) mice by immunohistochemistry and immunoblotting. Basigin mRNA levels in ovary and uterus were examined by quantitative RT-PCR. In females, basigin protein expression was observed mainly in granulosa and interstitial cells of the ovary and epithelial cells of the proximal oviduct in all genotypes. Basigin protein was also expressed in the uterine epithelium at proestrus and estrus in WT and βERKO mice but not in αERKO mice. However, a higher level of basigin mRNA was observed in uteri of αERKO mice compared with WT and βERKO mice. In males, basigin was expressed in Leydig cells and all germ cells except spermatogonia in all genotypes. Basigin was present in epithelial cells lining the efferent ductules in WT and βERKO mice, but expression was greatly reduced in αERKO mice. In epididymal ducts, basigin expression was observed in epithelial cells in the caput and cauda in all genotypes. These data suggest that expression of basigin protein requires ESR1, but not ESR2, in the uterus and efferent ductules, but is independent of estrogen receptor in the ovary, oviduct, testis, and epididymis.

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Ma Tian-Zhong, Chen Bi, Zhang Ying, Jing Xia, Peng Cai-Ling, Zhang Yun-Shan, Huang Mei-Wen, and Niu Yan-Ru


Emx2 deletion impairs the growth and maintenance of the genital ridge. However, its role in subsequent germ cell differentiation during embryonic stages is unknown. Using a tamoxifen-inducible Cre-loxP mouse model (Emx2 flox/flox, Cre-ER TM, hereafter called as Emx2 knockdown), we showed that germ cell differentiation was impaired in Emx2-knockdown testes. Representative characteristics of male germ cell differentiation, including a reduced ability to form embryonic germ (EG) cell colonies in vitro, down-regulation of pluripotency markers and G1/G0 arrest, did not occur in Emx2-knockdown testes. Furthermore, FGF9 and NODAL signalling occurred at abnormally high levels in Emx2-knockdown testes. Both blocking FGF9 signalling with SU5402 and inhibiting NODAL signalling with SB431542 allowed germ cells from Emx2-knockdown testes to differentiate in vitro. Therefore, EMX2 in somatic cells is required to trigger germ cell differentiation in XY foetuses, posterior to its previously reported role in the growth and maintenance of the genital ridge.