Heterozygosity with respect to Zfp148 causes complete loss of fetal germ cells during mouse embryogenesis

Nat Genet. 2003 Feb;33(2):172-6. doi: 10.1038/ng1072. Epub 2003 Jan 13.


Zfp148 belongs to a large family of C2H2-type zinc-finger transcription factors. Zfp148 is expressed in fetal germ cells in 13.5-d-old (E13.5) mouse embryos. Germ-line transmission of mutations were not observed in chimeric Zfp148(+/-) mice, and some of these mice completely lacked spermatogonia. The number of primordial germ cells in Zfp148(+/-) tetraploid embryos was normal until E11.5, but declined from E11.5 to E13.5 and continued to decline until few germ cells were present at E18.5. This phenotype was not rescued by wild-type Sertoli or stromal cells, and is therefore a cell-autonomous phenotype. These results indicate that two functional alleles of Zfp148 are required for the normal development of fetal germ cells. Recent studies have shown that Zfp148 activates p53, which has an important role in cell-cycle regulation. Primordial germ cells stop proliferating at approximately E13.5, which correlates with induction of phosphorylation of p53 and its translocation to the nucleus. Phosphorylation of p53 is impaired in Zfp148(+/-) embryonic stem cells and in fetal germ cells from chimeric Zfp148(+/-) embryos. Thus, Zfp148 may be required for regulating p53 in the development of germ cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Division
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • DNA-Binding Proteins*
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development / genetics*
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development / physiology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Germ Cells / cytology
  • Germ Cells / physiology*
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Loss of Heterozygosity
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Morphogenesis / physiology
  • Ovary / embryology
  • Ovary / growth & development
  • Ovum / cytology
  • Ovum / physiology*
  • Pseudopregnancy
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / physiology
  • Testis / cytology
  • Testis / embryology
  • Testis / growth & development
  • Testis / physiology*
  • Tetrazolium Salts
  • Thiazoles
  • Transcription Factors / deficiency
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Zinc Fingers / genetics


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Tetrazolium Salts
  • Thiazoles
  • Transcription Factors
  • Zfp148 protein, mouse
  • thiazolyl blue