Normal embryonic and germ cell development in mice lacking alpha 1,3-fucosyltransferase IX (Fut9) which show disappearance of stage-specific embryonic antigen 1

Mol Cell Biol. 2004 May;24(10):4221-8. doi: 10.1128/MCB.24.10.4221-4228.2004.


Stage-specific embryonic antigen 1 (SSEA-1), an antigenic epitope defined as a Lewis x carbohydrate structure, is expressed during the 8-cell to blastocyst stages in mouse embryos and in primordial germ cells, undifferentiated embryonic stem cells, and embryonic carcinoma cells. For many years, SSEA-1 has been implicated in the development of mouse embryos as a functional carbohydrate epitope in cell-to-cell interaction during morula compaction. In a previous study, alpha 1,3-fucosyltransferase IX (Fut9) exhibited very strong activity for the synthesis of Lewis x compared to other alpha 1,3-fucosyltransferases in an in vitro substrate specificity assay. Fut4 and Fut9 transcripts were expressed in mouse embryos. The Fut9 transcript was detected in embryonic-day-13.5 gonads containing primordial germ cells, but the Fut4 transcript was not. In order to identify the role of SSEA-1 and determine the key enzyme for SSEA-1 synthesis in vivo, we have generated Fut9-deficient (Fut9(-/-)) mice. Fut9(-/-) mice develop normally, with no gross phenotypic abnormalities, and are fertile. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed an absence of SSEA-1 expression in early embryos and primordial germ cells of Fut9(-/-) mice. Therefore, we conclude that expression of the SSEA-1 epitope in the developing mouse embryo is not essential for embryogenesis in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Blastocyst / immunology
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development
  • Female
  • Fucosyltransferases / deficiency*
  • Fucosyltransferases / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Germ Cells / enzymology
  • Germ Cells / immunology
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Isoenzymes / deficiency
  • Isoenzymes / genetics
  • Lewis X Antigen / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Pregnancy


  • DNA, Complementary
  • Isoenzymes
  • Lewis X Antigen
  • Fucosyltransferases
  • galactoside 3-fucosyltransferase

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AB015426