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

Origin and possible roles of the Sox8 transcription factor gene during sexual development.

Sox8 is a member of the Sox family of developmental transcription factor genes and is closely related to Sox9, a critical gene involved in mammalian sex determination and differentiation. Both genes encode proteins with the ability to bind similar DNA target sequences, and to activate transcription in in vitro assays. Expression studies indicate that the two genes have largely overlapping patterns of activity during mammalian embryonic development. A knockout of Sox8 in mice has no obvious developmental phenotype, suggesting that the two genes are able to act redundantly in a variety of developmental contexts. In particular, both genes are expressed in the developing Sertoli cell lineage of the developing testes in mice, and both proteins are able to activate transcription of the gene encoding anti-Müllerian hormone ( AMH), through synergistic action with steroidogenic factor 1 ( SF1). We have hypothesized that Sox8 may substitute for Sox9 in species where Sox9 is expressed too late to be involved in sex determination or regulation of Amh expression. However, our studies involving the red-eared slider turtle indicate that Sox8 is expressed at similar levels in males and females throughout the sex-determining period, suggesting that Sox8 is neither a transcriptional regulator for Amh, nor responsible for sex determination or gonad differentiation in that species. Similarly, Sox8 is not expressed in a sexually dimorphic pattern during gonadogenesis in the chicken. Since a functional role(s) for Sox8 is implied by its conservation during evolution, the significance of Sox8 for sexual and other aspects of development will need to be uncovered through more directed lines of experimentation.[1]


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