Primordial germ cells (PGCs) are the founders of the gametes. They migrate from their origin to combine with the somatic component of the gonad. Progenitors in mice have been recognized in the proximal epiblast. When and how these cells are allocated to the germ line has not been elucidated fully. Numerous growth factors have been described which affect PGC survival, proliferation and directional control during their migration. The extracellular matrix also may play a role in PGC migration, particularly fibronectin and laminin. Once they have arrived at the gonad, PGCs aggregate with one another. The molecules governing this PGC-PGC interaction have yet to be identified.
Copyright 1998 Academic Press.