Molecular cloning and genomic organization of mouse homologue of Drosophila germ cell-less and its expression in germ lineage cells

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1999 Aug 19;262(1):223-30. doi: 10.1006/bbrc.1999.1160.


Primordial germ cells (PGCs) are founder cells of all gametes. A number of genes which control PGCs development have been identified in invertebrates, whereas such genes are by and large unelucidated in mammals. Here we describe cloning, genomic structure and expression of mouse homologue of germ cell-less (gcl) gene which is required for PGCs formation in Drosophila. The mouse gcl shows 34% identity compared with Drosophila gcl protein and contains BTB/POZ domain. The gcl gene consists of 14 exons and spans more than 50 kb. The CpG islands are found around exon 1 of the gene. Putative promoter region contains potential binding sites for various transcription factors. Northern blot analysis showed that its mRNA is highly expressed in adult testis with lower expression in ovary, ES (embryonic stem) cells, and various other organs. In situ hybridization analysis revealed strong expression of the gcl gene in the pachytene stage spermatocytes. The expression was also observed in post-migratory PGCs, but was not apparent in migratory and pre-migratory PGCs. Further studies including gene disruption analysis would provide an important insight into mammalian germ lineage development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Lineage / genetics*
  • Cell Movement
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • CpG Islands / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Exons / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Expression*
  • Germ Cells / cytology
  • Germ Cells / metabolism*
  • Gonads / embryology
  • Gonads / growth & development
  • Gonads / metabolism
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Introns / genetics
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nuclear Proteins / chemistry
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics*
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Response Elements / genetics
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / metabolism*


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Gcl protein, mouse
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • gcl protein, Drosophila

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF163665
  • GENBANK/AF163666