Knockout (KO) mice lacking the orphan nuclear receptor steroidogenic factor 1 (SF-1) exhibit marked structural abnormalities of the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus (VMH). In this study, we sought to determine the molecular mechanisms underlying the VMH abnormalities. To trace SF-1-expressing neurons, we used a SF-1/enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) transgene. Although the total numbers of eGFP-positive cells in wild-type (WT) and SF-1 KO mice were indistinguishable, cells that normally localize precisely within the VMH were scattered more diffusely in adjacent regions in SF-1 KO mice. This abnormal distribution is likely due to the loss of SF-1 expression in VMH neurons rather than secondary effects of deficient steroidogenesis, as redistribution also was seen in mice with a CNS-specific KO of SF-1. Thus, the absence of SF-1 alters the distribution of cells that normally form the VMH within the mediobasal hypothalamus. Consistent with this model, the hypothalamic expression patterns of the transcription factors islet-1 and nkx2.1 also were displaced in SF-1 KO mice. Independent of gene expression, birthdate analyses further suggested that cells with earlier birthdates were affected more severely by the loss of SF-1 than were later born cells. We conclude that the absence of SF-1 causes major changes in cellular arrangement within and around the developing VMH that result from altered cell migration.
- Neuronal migration
- Orphan nuclear receptor
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience