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Germ Cell-Intrinsic and -Extrinsic Factors Govern Meiotic Initiation in Mouse Embryos
Mark E. Gill,*
David C. Page
Retinoic acid (RA) is an essential extrinsic inducer of meioticinitiation in mammalian germ cells. However, RA acts too widelyin mammalian development to account, by itself, for the cell-typeand temporal specificity of meiotic initiation. We consideredparallels to yeast, in which extrinsic and intrinsic factorscombine to restrict meiotic initiation. We demonstrate that,in mouse embryos, extrinsic and intrinsic factors together regulatemeiotic initiation. The mouse RNA-binding protein DAZL, whichis expressed by postmigratory germ cells, is a key intrinsicfactor, enabling those cells to initiate meiosis in responseto RA. Within a brief developmental window, Dazl-expressinggerm cells in both XX and XY embryos actively acquire the abilityto interpret RA as a meiosis-inducing signal.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Whitehead Institute, and Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 9 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA.
* These authors contributed equally to this work.
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