Dynamic expression pattern and subcellular localization of the Rhox10 homeobox transcription factor during early germ cell development

Reproduction. 2012 May;143(5):611-24. doi: 10.1530/REP-11-0479. Epub 2012 Mar 5.


Homeobox genes encode transcription factors that regulate diverse developmental events. The largest known homeobox gene cluster - the X-linked mouse reproductive homeobox (Rhox) cluster - harbors genes whose expression patterns and functions are largely unknown. Here, we report that a member of this cluster, Rhox10, is expressed in male germ cells. Rhox10 is highly transcribed in spermatogonia in vivo and is upregulated in response to the differentiation-inducing agent retinoic acid in vitro. Using a specific RHOX10 antiserum that we generated, we found that RHOX10 protein is selectively expressed in fetal gonocytes, germline stem cells, spermatogonia, and early spermatocytes. RHOX10 protein undergoes a dramatic shift in subcellular localization as germ cells progress from mitotically arrested gonocytes to mitotic spermatogonia and from mitotic spermatogonia to early meiotic spermatocytes, consistent with RHOX10 performing different functions in these stages.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Epididymis / embryology
  • Epididymis / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Meiosis
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Mitosis
  • Protein Transport
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Spermatocytes / metabolism*
  • Spermatogenesis* / genetics
  • Spermatogonia / metabolism*
  • Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Rhox10 protein, mouse