A known transcriptional factor plays a critical role in the specification of germ cells in mice, according to an advance online publication from Nature. This article identifies one of the earliest regulators of germ cell specification, and adds to our understanding of when this specification occurs during development.
In mice, germ cells (or reproductive cells) are induced in the so-called epiblast, which also gives rise to all other body cells. The specification and segregation of mouse germ cells from other cells are important steps in the early development of an embryo.
In new work, M. Azim Surani and colleagues show that a critical player in these events is the protein Blimp1, which is a known transcriptional repressor. Although the authors do not know how this protein regulates germ cell specification, they do show that disrupting the protein blocks germ cell formation.
M. Azim Surani (University of Cambridge, UK)
(C) Nature press release.
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