Oral Presentation Annual Meetings of the Endocrine Society of Australia and Society for Reproductive Biology and Australia and New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society 2016

Mechanisms regulating germ cell development in the mouse fetal gonad (#107)

Josephine Bowles 1 2
  1. School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD, Australia
  2. Division of Molecular Genetics and Development, Institute for Molecular Biosciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

In mammals, primordial germ cells are specified during fetal life, migrate to the developing gonads and then undergo a critical period of development that is regulated, largely, by somatic cells of the gonadal environment. In a fetal ovary germ cells promptly enter meiosis whereas, in a fetal testis, they enter G1/G0 arrest and remain in a state of quiescence until after birth. I will discuss what we understand so far about the regulation of sex-specific differentiation of germ cells, considering extrinsic molecular cues produced by somatic cells as well as critical intrinsic changes within the germ cells. I will also focus on the molecular pathways that regulate the balance between pluripotency and differentiation, critical for the maintenance of fertility and for the avoidance of germ cell tumor formation.