Establishment of the mammalian germ line is a prerequisite for fertility of the adult animal but we know surprisingly little about the molecular mechanisms regulating germ-line development in mammals. Signaling from the c-Kit receptor tyrosine kinase is essential for primordial germ cell (PGC) growth both in vivo and in vitro. Many downstream effectors of the c-Kit signaling pathway have been identified in other cell types but how these molecules control PGC survival and proliferation are unknown. Determination of the c-Kit effectors acting in PGCs has been hampered by the lack of effective methods to easily manipulate gene expression in these cells. We overcame this problem by testing the efficacy of retroviral-mediated gene transfer for manipulating gene expression in mammalian germ cells. We found that PGCs can be successfully infected with a variety of types of retroviruses. We used this method to demonstrate an important role for the AKT kinase in regulating PGC growth. Such technology for manipulating gene expression in PGCs will allow many of the molecular mechanisms regulating germ cell growth, behavior, and differentiation to be comprehensively analyzed.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Aug 2002|
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