• DMY;
  • DMRT1;
  • sex determination;
  • sex differentiation;
  • primordial germ cell;
  • Sertoli cell;
  • medaka


The recent discovery of the DMY gene (DM domain gene on Y chromosome and one of the DMRT1 family genes) as a key determinant of male development in the medaka (Oryzias latipes) has led to its designation as the prime candidate gene for sex-determination in this species. This study focused on the sites and pattern of expression of DMY and DMRT1 genes during gonadal differentiation of medaka to further determine their roles in testis development. DMY mRNA and protein are expressed specifically in the somatic cells surrounding primordial germ cells (PGCs) in the early gonadal primordium, before morphological sex differences are seen. However, somatic cells surrounding PGCs never express DMY during the early migratory period. Expression of DMY persists in Sertoli cell lineage cells, from PGC-supporting cells to Sertoli cells, indicating that only DMY-positive cells enclose PGCs during mitotic arrest after hatching. DMRT1 is expressed in spermatogonium-supporting cells after testicular differentiation (20–30 days after hatching), and its expression is much higher than that of DMY in mature testes. In XX sex-reversed testes, DMRT1 is expressed in the Sertoli cell lineage, similar to the expression of DMY in XY testes. These results suggest strongly that DMY regulates PGC proliferation and differentiation sex-specifically during early gonadal differentiation of XY individuals and that DMRT1 regulates spermatogonial differentiation. Developmental Dynamics 231:518–526, 2004. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.