Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Developmental Biology and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Ovarian gene expression in the absence of FIGLA, an oocyte-specific transcription factor

Saurabh Joshi1*, Holly Davies1, Lauren Porter Sims2, Shawn E Levy2 and Jurrien Dean1

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratory of Cellular and Developmental Biology, NIDDK, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA

2 Department of Biomedical Informatics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN 37232, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Developmental Biology 2007, 7:67  doi:10.1186/1471-213X-7-67

Published: 13 June 2007



Ovarian folliculogenesis in mammals is a complex process involving interactions between germ and somatic cells. Carefully orchestrated expression of transcription factors, cell adhesion molecules and growth factors are required for success. We have identified a germ-cell specific, basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor, FIGLA (Factor In the GermLine, Alpha) and demonstrated its involvement in two independent developmental processes: formation of the primordial follicle and coordinate expression of zona pellucida genes.


Taking advantage of Figla null mouse lines, we have used a combined approach of microarray and Serial Analysis of Gene Expression (SAGE) to identify potential downstream target genes. Using high stringent cutoffs, we find that FIGLA functions as a key regulatory molecule in coordinating expression of the NALP family of genes, genes of known oocyte-specific expression and a set of functionally un-annotated genes. FIGLA also inhibits expression of male germ cell specific genes that might otherwise disrupt normal oogenesis.


These data implicate FIGLA as a central regulator of oocyte-specific genes that play roles in folliculogenesis, fertilization and early development.