Establishment of testis-specific SOX9 activation requires high-glucose metabolism in mouse sex differentiation

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In mouse sex differentiation, SRY promotes Sertoli cell differentiation via SOX9 action, resulting in testis formation. SRY/SOX9 also initiates various testis-specific morphogenic events including glycogenesis in pre-Sertoli cells, suggesting the importance of glucose storage for certain SRY/SOX9-downstream events in gonadal sex determination. However, it remains unclear which cell types and what molecular/cellular events require sex-dimorphic high-energy metabolic rate. Here we show that the establishment of SOX9 activation itself is a metabolically active process with sex-dimorphic high-energy requirements in gonadal sex differentiation. The glucose-deprivation and metabolic rescue experiments using genital ridge cultures of the XY/XX-wildtype and XX/Sry transgenic embryos demonstrated that, among the various somatic cell types, pre-Sertoli cells are the most sensitive to glucose starvation despite the differences between XX/Sry and XY genotypes. Moreover, our data showed that, in developing pre-Sertoli cells, the high-glucose metabolic state is required for the establishment of SOX9 expression through an ECM (extracellular matrix)-mediated feed-forward pathway. In contrast, the expression of SRY, SF1/Ad4Bp, GATA4 and WT1, as well as initiation of early SOX9 expression, is properly maintained in the glucose-deprived condition. Therefore, our results imply the metabolic importance of the high-glucose condition for the establishment of SOX9 activation in testis differentiation. © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.




Matoba, S., Hiramatsu, R., Kanai-Azuma, M., Tsunekawa, N., Harikae, K., Kawakami, H., … Kanai, Y. (2008). Establishment of testis-specific SOX9 activation requires high-glucose metabolism in mouse sex differentiation. Developmental Biology, 324(1), 76–87.

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