Novel markers of early ovarian pre-granulosa cells are expressed in an Sry-like pattern



Mammalian gonad differentiation involves sexually dimorphic cell-fate decisions within the bipotential gonadal primordia. Testis differentiation is initiated by a center-to-poles wave of Sry expression that induces supporting cell precursors (SCPs) to become Sertoli rather than granulosa cells. The initiation of ovary differentiation is less well understood. We identified two novel SCP markers, 1700106J16Rik and Sprr2d, whose expression is ovary-biased during early gonad development, and altered in Wnt4, Sf1, Wt1, and Fog2 mutant gonads. In XX and XY gonads, both genes were up-regulated at ∼E11 in a center-to-poles wave, and then rapidly down-regulated in XY gonads in a center-to-poles wave, which is reminiscent of Sry expression in XY gonads. Our data suggest that 1700106J16Rik and Sprr2d may have important roles in early gonad development, and are consistent with the hypothesis that ovarian SCP differentiation occurs in a center-to-poles wave with similar timing to that of testicular SCP differentiation. Developmental Dynamics 238:812–825, 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.