PAR6, a potential marker for the germ cells selected to form primordial follicles in mouse ovary

PLoS One. 2009 Oct 7;4(10):e7372. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0007372.


Partitioning-defective proteins (PAR) are detected to express mainly in the cytoplast, and play an important role in cell polarity. However, we showed here that PAR6, one kind of PAR protein, was localized in the nuclei of mouse oocytes that formed primordial follicles during the perinatal period, suggesting a new role of PAR protein. It is the first time we found that, in mouse fetal ovaries, PAR6 appeared in somatic cell cytoplasm and fell weak when somatic cells invaded germ cell cysts at 17.5 days post coitus (dpc). Meanwhile, the expression of PAR6 was observed in cysts, and became strong in the nuclei of some germ cells at 19.5 dpc and all primordial follicular oocytes at 3 day post parturition (dpp), and then obviously declined when the primordial follicles entered the folliculogenic growth phase. During the primordial follicle pool foundation, the number of PAR6 positive germ cells remained steady and was consistent with that of formed follicles at 3 dpp. There were no TUNEL (apoptosis examination) positive germ cells stained with PAR6 at any time studied. The number of follicles significantly declined when 15.5 dpc ovaries were treated with the anti-PAR6 antibody and PAR6 RNA interference. Carbenoxolone (CBX, a known blocker of gap junctions) inhibited the expression of PAR6 in germ cells and the formation of follicles. Our results suggest that PAR6 could be used as a potential marker of germ cells for the primordial follicle formation, and the expression of PAR6 by a gap junction-dependent process may contribute to the formation of primordial follicles and the maintenance of oocytes at the diplotene stage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / metabolism
  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Female
  • Gap Junctions
  • Germ Cells / metabolism*
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • Oocytes / metabolism
  • Ovarian Follicle / embryology
  • Ovarian Follicle / metabolism*
  • Ovary / embryology
  • Ovary / metabolism
  • Time Factors


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Par6 protein, mouse