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Journal Articles International Journal of Biological Sciences Year : 2016

Partial Mullerian Duct Retention in Smad4 Conditional Mutant Male Mice


Mullerian duct regression is a complex process which involves the AMH signalling pathway. We have previously demonstrated that besides AMH and its specific type II receptor (AMHRII), BMPR-IA and Smad5 are two essential factors implicated in this mechanism. Mothers against decapentaplegic homolog 4 (Smad4) is a transcription factor and the common Smad (co-Smad) involved in transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) signalling pathway superfamily. Since Smad4 null mutants die early during gastrulation, we have inactivated Smad4 in the Mullerian duct mesenchyme. Specific inactivation of Smad4 in the urogenital ridge leads to the partial persistence of the Mullerian duct in adult male mice. Careful examination of the urogenital tract reveals that the Mullerian duct retention is randomly distributed either on one side or both sides. Histological analysis shows a uterus-like structure, which is confirmed by the expression of estrogen receptor alpha. As previously described in a beta-catenin conditional mutant mouse model, beta-catenin contributes to Mullerian duct regression. In our mutant male embryos, it appears that beta-catenin expression is locally reduced along the urogenital ridge as compared to control mice. Moreover, the expression pattern is similar to those observed in control female mice. This study shows that reduced Smad4 expression disrupts the Wnt/beta-catenin signalling leading to the partial persistence of Mullerian duct

Dates and versions

hal-01319890 , version 1 (23-05-2016)



Fabrice Petit, Chuxia Deng, Soazik Jamin. Partial Mullerian Duct Retention in Smad4 Conditional Mutant Male Mice. International Journal of Biological Sciences, 2016, 12 (6), pp.667--676. ⟨10.7150/ijbs.12300⟩. ⟨hal-01319890⟩
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