Involvement of doublesex and mab-3 related transcription factors (DMRTs) in human female germ cell development demonstrated by xenograft and interference RNA strategies.

Molecular human reproduction

PubMedID: 25082981

Poulain M, Frydman N, Tourpin S, Mucsynski V, Souquet B, Benachi A, Habert R, Rouiller-Fabre V, Livera G. Involvement of doublesex and mab-3 related transcription factors (DMRTs) in human female germ cell development demonstrated by xenograft and interference RNA strategies. Mol Hum Reprod. 2014;.
We identified three doublesex and mab-3-related transcription factors (DMRT) that were sexually differentially expressed in human fetal gonads and present in the ovaries at the time of meiotic initiation. These were also identified in murine embryonic female germ cells. Among these, we focused on DMRTA2 (DMRT5), whose function is unknown in the developing gonads, and clarified its role in human female fetal germ cells, using an original xenograft model. Early human fetal ovaries (8 to 11 weeks post- fertilization) were grafted into nude mice. Grafted ovaries developed normally, with no apparent overt changes, when compared to ungrafted ovaries at equivalent developmental stages. Appropriate germ cell density, mitotic /meiotic transition, markers of meiotic progression and follicle formation were evident. Four weeks after grafting, mice were treated with siRNA, specifically targeting human DMRTA2 mRNA. DMRTA2 inhibition triggered an increase in undifferentiated FUT4-positive germ cells and a decrease in the percentage of meiotic ?H2AX-positive germ cells, when compared with mice that were injected with control siRNA. Interestingly, the expression of markers associated with pre-meiotic germ cell differentiation was also impaired, as was the expression of DMRTB1 (DMRT6) and DMRTC2 (DMRT7). This study reveals, for the first time, the requirement of DMRTA2 for normal human female embryonic germ cell development. DMRTA2 appears to be necessary for proper differentiation of oogonia, prior to entry into meiosis, in the human species. Additionally, we developed a new model of organ xenografting, coupled with RNA interference, which provides a useful tool for genetic investigations of human germline development.