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Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Animal and Nutritional Sciences


LIM homeobox 8 (Lhx8) is a germ cell-specific transcription factor essential for the development of oocytes during early oogenesis. In mice, Lhx8 deficiency causes postnatal oocyte loss and affects the expression of many oocyte-specific genes. The aims of this study were to characterize the bovine Lhx8 gene, determine its mRNA expression during oocyte development and early embryogenesis, and evaluate its interactions with other oocyte-specific transcription factors. The bovine Lhx8 gene encodes a protein of 377 amino acids. A splice variant of Lhx8 (Lhx8_v1) was also identified. The predicted bovine Lhx8 protein contains two LIM domains and one homeobox domain. However, one of the LIM domains in Lhx8_v1 is incomplete due to deletion of 83 amino acids near the N terminus. Both Lhx8 and Lhx8_v1 transcripts were only detected in the gonads but none of the somatic tissues examined. The expression of Lhx8 and Lhx8_v1 appears to be restricted to oocytes as none of the transcripts was detectable in granulosa or theca cells. The maternal Lhx8 transcript is abundant in GV and MII stage oocytes as well as in early embryos but disappear by morula stage. A nuclear localization signal that is required for the import of Lhx8 into nucleus was identified, and Lhx8 is predominantly localized in the nucleus when ectopically expressed in mammalian cells. Finally, a novel interaction between Lhx8 and Figla, another transcription factor essential for oogenesis, was detected. The results provide new information for studying the mechanisms of action for Lhx8 in oocyte development and early embryogenesis.

Source Citation

Fu, L., Zhang, M., Mastrantoni, K., Perfetto, M., Wei, S., & Yao, J. (2016). Bovine Lhx8, a Germ Cell-Specific Nuclear Factor, Interacts with Figla. PLOS ONE, 11(10), e0164671.


© 2016 Fu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.



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