Liver receptor homologue-1 (LRH-1), an orphan member of the nuclear receptor family highly expressed in adult mouse ovary, is closely related to steroidogenic factor 1 (SF-1), known to be important in gonadal formation. To analyze the potential role of LRH-1 in gonadal differentiation, we compared LRH-1 and SF-1 expression during mouse embryonic and postnatal development. LRH-1 expression was first detected in the urogenital ridge before sexual determination, in primordial germ cells and surrounding somatic cells; expression persisted after differentiation into testes and ovaries. Of interest, LRH-1 expression declined in the developing ovary and testis at embryonic day 15.5 but increased again just after birth in the ovary in granulosa cells and transiently in oocytes of developing follicles. By comparing and contrasting LRH and SF-1 expression with the two tissue-specific steroidogenic markers, cytochromes P450 aromatase and P450 17α-hydroxylase/17,20 lyase, we provide evidence for a potential role for LRH-1 in gonadal development, the initiation of folliculogenesis and regulation of estrogen biosynthesis within the ovary.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Biology