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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Primordial germ cell-somatic cell partnership: a balancing cell signaling act.

Recent studies demonstrate that the normal progression of the germ cell lineage during gonadogenesis involves a delicate balance of primordial germ cell survival and death factors generated by surrounding somatic cells. This balance operates in a different fashion in females and males. The fine tuning primordial germ cell specification in the wall of the yolk sac, migration through the hindgut and dorsal mesentery, and colonization in the urogenital ridges involves the temporal and spatial activation of the following signaling pathways: Primordial germ cell specification involves bone morphogenetic proteins 2, 4 and 8b, and their migration is facilitated by the c-kit receptor-ligand duet. When colonization occurs: (1) neuregulin-beta ligand is expressed and binds to an ErbB2-ErbB3 receptor tyrosine kinase heterodimer on primordial germ cells; (2) Vasa, an ortholog of the Drosophila gene vasa, member of an ATP-dependent RNA helicase of the DEAD (Asp-Glu-Ala-Asp)-box family protein is also expressed by primordial germ cells; (3) Bcl-x (cell survival factor) and Bax (cell death factor) join forces to modulate the first burst of primordial germ cell apoptosis; (4) Cadherins, integrins, and disintegrins bring together primordial germ cells and somatic cells to organize testis and ovary. Information on other inducers of primordial cell survival, such as TER (teratoma) factor, is beginning to emerge.[1]


  1. Primordial germ cell-somatic cell partnership: a balancing cell signaling act. Kierszenbaum, A.L., Tres, L.L. Mol. Reprod. Dev. (2001) [Pubmed]
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