Apoptosis of fetal testicular cells is regulated by both p53-dependent and independent mechanisms

Yasuhisa Matsui, Reiko Nagano, Masuo Obinata

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20 Citations (Scopus)


A portion of fetal germ cells undergoes apoptosis in the physiological context, but the molecular mechanisms of their apoptosis are largely unknown. Because p53 tumor suppressor gene product promotes apoptosis in various types of cells, we have investigated the expression of p53 in fetal gonads and examined the influence of loss of p53 function n fetal gonad cells using mice deficient in the p53 gene. We found that the expression of p53 protein in fetal testis was induced after 15.5 dpc (days post coitum), while the expression was not detected in fetal ovary. The number of apoptotic cells found in the seminiferous tubules of fetal testes was not significantly different between p53-deficient and wild-type mice until 16.5 dpc. At 17.5 dpc, however, more apoptotic cells were observed in wild-type testes than in the p53-deficient mice. In contrast, a similar number of apoptotic cells was found in fetal ovaries throughout these developmental stages. These observations indicate that p53 promotes apoptosis of fetal testicular cells after 16.5 dpc. (C) 2000 Wiley. Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-405
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular Reproduction and Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Apoptosis
  • Germ cell
  • p53


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