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Keywords:

  • Oct4;
  • medaka;
  • PGC;
  • gonads;
  • pluripotency

Abstract

Oct4 is a crucial transcription factor for controlling pluripotency in embryonic stem cells and the epiblast of mouse embryos. We have characterized the expression pattern of medaka (Oryzias latipes) Ol-Oct4 during embryonic development and in the adult gonads. Genomic analysis showed that Ol-Oct4 is the ortholog of zebrafish spg/pou2. However, their expression patterns are not the same, suggesting that Oct4 may play different roles in zebrafish and medaka. Using specific antibodies for the Ol-Oct4 protein, we showed that Ol-Oct4 is also expressed in primordial germ cells, in the spermatogonia (male germ stem cells), and during different stages of oocyte development. These results suggest that Ol-Oct4 plays a post-embryonic role in the maturing gonads and gametes. The Ol-Oct4 mRNA and protein expression patterns are similar to those of mammalian Oct4 and introduce medaka fish as a valid model for the functional and evolutionary study of pluripotency genes in vivo. Developmental Dynamics 239:672–679, 2010. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.