The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 40: 507 - 514 (1996)

Vol 40, Issue 2

Thyroid hormone regulation of germ cell-specific EF-1 alpha expression during metamorphosis of Xenopus laevis

Published: 1 April 1996

B Abdallah, L Sachs, J Hourdry, M Wegnez, H Denis, B Demeneix and A Mazabraud

Centre de Génétique Moléculaire, Université Pierre et M. Curie (Paris VI), Gif-sur-Yvette, France.


In situ hybridization was used to follow the distribution of the mRNAs encoding the somatic form of elongation factor 1 alpha (EF-1 alpha S) and the germinal counterparts of this factor, thesaurin a and EF-1 alpha O, throughout metamorphosis in the gonads of Xenopus laevis tadpoles. EF-1 alpha S mRNA is detected before metamorphosis in both the somatic and germ cells of the gonads. In contrast, thesaurin a and EF-1 alpha O mRNAs are first detected in spermatogonia and oogonia at stages 60-62, corresponding to the climax of metamorphosis and to the peak of circulating thyroid hormone. To determine whether thyroid hormone, the instigator of metamorphosis, is involved in regulating the expression of the germinal gene EF-1 alpha O, Xenopus XTC cells were transfected with an EF-1 alpha O promoter sequence inserted in front of the luciferase reporter gene. Addition of T3 to the cell culture medium induced a dose-dependent increase in transcription from the EF-1 alpha O promoter. This effect was enhanced when the construct was cotransfected with an expression vector for a Xenopus thyroid hormone receptor. Our data show that germ cells switch from a somatic to a germ-cell specific mode of expression during metamorphosis. Furthermore, this switch appears to be induced by thyroid hormone.

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