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RUNX1 safeguards the identity of the fetal ovary through an interplay with FOXL2

Abstract : Sex determination of the gonads begins with fate specification of gonadal supporting cells into either ovarian granulosa cells or testicular Sertoli cells. This process of fate specification hinges on a balance of transcriptional control. We discovered that expression of the transcription factor RUNX1 is enriched in the fetal ovary in rainbow trout, turtle, mouse, goat and human. In the mouse, RUNX1 marks the supporting cell lineage and becomes granulosa cell-specific as the gonads differentiate. RUNX1 plays complementary/redundant roles with FOXL2 to maintain fetal granulosa cell identity, and combined loss of RUNX1 and FOXL2 results in masculinization of the fetal ovaries. At the chromatin level, RUNX1 occupancy overlaps partially with FOXL2 occupancy in the fetal ovary, suggesting that RUNX1 and FOXL2 target a common set of genes. These findings identify RUNX1, with an ovary-biased pattern conserved across species, as a novel regulator in securing the identity of ovarian supporting cells and the ovary.
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2018_Nicol_BioRxiv_1.pdf
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Barbara Nicol, Sara A. Grimm, Frédéric Chalmel, Estelle Lecluze, Maëlle Pannetier, et al.. RUNX1 safeguards the identity of the fetal ovary through an interplay with FOXL2. 2019. ⟨hal-02790582⟩

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