The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 53: 1035 - 1044 (2009)

Vol 53, Issue 7

The spatio-temporal pattern of testis organogenesis in mammals - insights from the mole

Original Article | Published: 12 June 2009

Francisco D. Carmona, Darío G. Lupiáñez, José-Ezequiel Martín, Miguel Burgos, Rafael Jiménez* and Federico Zurita

Departamento de Genética, Universidad de Granada, Granada, Spain


Some cellular events are crucial in testis organogenesis, including Sertoli and Leydig cell differentiation, mesonephric cell migration and testis cord formation. These processes are controlled by transcription factors, paracrine signalling and hormones. Using the mole species Talpa occidentalis as an alternative animal model, we report the expression patterns of nine genes during testis differentiation and analyse their implications in the above-mentioned cellular processes. We show that: 1) Sertoli cell differentiation occurs very early and precedes mesonephric cell migration, indicating that the latter is not needed for the endocrine cytodifferentiation of Sertoli cells; 2) the time of Leydig cell differentiation is consistent with the participation of PDGFR-alpha in promoting the migration and/or proliferation of Leydig cell precursors, and with that of WNT4 signalling in inhibiting Leydig cell differentiation and 3) the formation of the tunica albuginea involves intragonadal cell migration/movement. These results demonstrate that testicular organogenesis in the mole differs from that in the mouse in some particular aspects, thus providing evidence that the spatio-temporal pattern of testis development is not highly conserved during mammalian evolution.


sex determination, gonad, Sertoli cell, Leydig cell, cell migration, SOX9, AMH, Talpa

Full text in web format is not available for this article. Please download the PDF version.