The Maestro (Mro) gene is dispensable for normal sexual development and fertility in mice

Lee Smith, John Willan, Nick Warr, Frances A Brook, Michael Cheeseman, Richard Sharpe, Pam Siggers, Andy Greenfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The mammalian gonad arises as a bipotential primordium from which a testis or ovary develops depending on the chromosomal sex of the individual. We have previously used DNA microarrays to screen for novel genes controlling the developmental fate of the indifferent embryonic mouse gonad. Maestro (Mro), which encodes a HEAT-repeat protein, was originally identified as a gene exhibiting sexually dimorphic expression during mouse gonad development. Wholemount in situ hybridisation analysis revealed Mro to be expressed in the embryonic male gonad from approximately 11.5 days post coitum, prior to overt sexual differentiation. No significant expression was detected in female gonads at the same developmental stage. In order to address its physiological function, we have generated mice lacking Maestro using gene targeting. Male and female mice homozygous for a Mro null allele are viable and fertile. We examined gonad development in homozygous male embryos in detail and observed no differences when compared to wild-type controls. Immunohistochemical analysis of homozygous mutant testes of adult mice revealed no overt abnormalities. Expression profiling using DNA microarrays also indicated no significant differences between homozygote embryonic male gonads and controls. We conclude that Maestro is dispensable for normal male sexual development and fertility in laboratory mice; however, the Mro locus itself does have utility as a site for insertion of transgenes for future studies in the fields of sexual development and Sertoli cell function.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberE4091
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008


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