CHABOISSIER

Marie-Christine CHABOISSIER

Sex determination in mice

Main interests

  • Sex determination in mammals
  • Normal and pathogenic development of the gonad
  • Ovarian homeostasis and repair
  • WNT/b-catenin signalling and Sox genes

Scientific Questions

In mammals, the pivotal decision to develop as male or female begins with the differentiation of the bipotential gonad allowing the development of two highly specialized organs: the testis or the ovary. This will condition the whole sexual fate of the individual. At a molecular level, sex determination depends on two antagonistic molecular pathways. The SRY gene located on the Y chromosome initiates testicular development by up-regulating the transcription factor SOX9 in XY embryos. In contrast, ovarian differentiation requires up-regulation of the secreted proteins RSPO1 and WNT4 in XX embryos. Eventually, the dominant pathway will determine the sex of the individual. However, the knowledge on mechanisms governing sex determination is still fragmented and consequently about 50% of gonadal dysgenesis remains unexplained in humans. Our aim is to unravelling these mechanisms involved in normal and pathologic development of testes and ovaries.

Our Strategy

Understanding sex determination or how two completely different organs, the ovary or the testis, differentiate from the same precursor is a unique quest in biology. We have a long-standing interest in the processes driving sex determination, sexual differentiation, and gonad homeostasis. We have shown that Rspo1 promotes progenitor cell proliferation in the bipotential gonad. After their ingression into the gonads, cells in the XY gonads stop expressing Rspo1 and activate the testis determining genes Sry and Sox9. We have shown that Sox9 is required for the differentiation of Sertoli cells, the supporting cells of the testis. Indeed, mutations in this gene cause male-to-female sex reversal. In XX gonads, the progenitor cells maintain Rspo1 expression after entering the gonads. They differentiate as granulosa cells, the somatic cells that will form the ovarian follicles after birth. We have shown that Rspo1 is required for fetal granulosa cell maintenance during embryogenesis. Accelerated differentiation of this cell population is associated with female-to-male sex reversal. To address these questions, we combine genetic, molecular and genomic approaches. Our current aim is to deepen our knowledge of sex differentiation and maintenance of the sexual fate. We also aim to identify new players in these processes, especially factors likely to be involved in disorders of sexual development and other pathologies like ovarian cancers in humans.

Research Aims

Testis differentiation is determined by the paternal transmission of the SRY gene, which is required for SOX9 up-regulation. However many facts about male determination are still unknown such as why only a subset of cells express SRY and what are other cellular and molecular mechanims involved in testis differentiation. One of our goals is to understand at a cellular and molecular level how gonadal differentiation tiltes towards the testicular fate.

In XX gonads, we have shown that Rspo1 is necessary for the female fate, but we do not yet know how this process is initiated and the role of Rspo1. Rspo1 regulates WNT/b-catenin signalling, a critical pathway also implicated in folliculogenesis and ovarian homeostasis. Understanding the normal role of this pathway is a prerequisite for the study of ovarian pathogenesis.

In addition to determining the sex of the individual, the gonad is also the site of germ cells differentiation to insure the propagation of species. It is now clear that the fate of the gonad and germ cells are closely linked and the exact cellular and molecular mechanism governing sex-specific germ cell differentiation remain to be known.

Researchers

CHASSOT Anne-Amandine - +33 492076418
DE CIAN Marie-Cécile - +33 492076418
GILLOT Isabelle - +33 492076422
PEREA-GOMEZ Aitana - +33 492076418

PreDocs

LE ROLLE Morgane - +33 492076418
RICHARDSON Nainoa - +33 492076434
TANG Furong - +33 492076451

Engineers & Technicians

GRéGOIRE-GOMEZ Elodie - +33 492076418

 

Recent publications

  1. Gregoire, EP, Stevant, I, Chassot, AA, Martin, L, Lachambre, S, Mondin, M et al.. NRG1 signalling regulates the establishment of Sertoli cell stock in the mouse testis. Mol. Cell. Endocrinol. 2018;478 :17-31. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2018.07.004. PubMed PMID:30040984 .
  2. Chassot, AA, Le Rolle, M, Jourden, M, Taketo, MM, Ghyselinck, NB, Chaboissier, MC et al.. Constitutive WNT/CTNNB1 activation triggers spermatogonial stem cell proliferation and germ cell depletion. Dev. Biol. 2017;426 (1):17-27. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2017.04.010. PubMed PMID:28456466 .
  3. Minkina, A, Lindeman, RE, Gearhart, MD, Chassot, AA, Chaboissier, MC, Ghyselinck, NB et al.. Retinoic acid signaling is dispensable for somatic development and function in the mammalian ovary. Dev. Biol. 2017;424 (2):208-220. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2017.02.015. PubMed PMID:28274610 PubMed Central PMC5411265.
  4. Lacour, F, Vezin, E, Bentzinger, CF, Sincennes, MC, Giordani, L, Ferry, A et al.. R-spondin1 Controls Muscle Cell Fusion through Dual Regulation of Antagonistic Wnt Signaling Pathways. Cell Rep. 2017;18 (10):2320-2330. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2017.02.036. PubMed PMID:28273449 PubMed Central PMC5357729.
  5. Pannetier, M, Chassot, AA, Chaboissier, MC, Pailhoux, E. Involvement of FOXL2 and RSPO1 in Ovarian Determination, Development, and Maintenance in Mammals. Sex Dev. 2016;10 (4):167-184. doi: 10.1159/000448667. PubMed PMID:27649556 .
  6. Biason-Lauber, A, Chaboissier, MC. Ovarian development and disease: The known and the unexpected. Semin. Cell Dev. Biol. 2015;45 :59-67. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2015.10.021. PubMed PMID:26481972 .
  7. Bandiera, R, Sacco, S, Vidal, VP, Chaboissier, MC, Schedl, A. Steroidogenic organ development and homeostasis: A WT1-centric view. Mol. Cell. Endocrinol. 2015;408 :145-55. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2015.01.009. PubMed PMID:25596547 .
  8. Chassot, AA, Gillot, I, Chaboissier, MC. R-spondin1, WNT4, and the CTNNB1 signaling pathway: strict control over ovarian differentiation. Reproduction. 2014;148 (6):R97-110. doi: 10.1530/REP-14-0177. PubMed PMID:25187620 .
  9. Rastetter, RH, Bernard, P, Palmer, JS, Chassot, AA, Chen, H, Western, PS et al.. Marker genes identify three somatic cell types in the fetal mouse ovary. Dev. Biol. 2014;394 (2):242-52. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2014.08.013. PubMed PMID:25158167 .
  10. Chahal, JK, Wong, VS, Chaboissier, MC, Brubaker, PL. R-spondin1 deficiency enhances β-Cell neogenesis in a murine model of diabetes. Pancreas. 2014;43 (1):93-102. doi: 10.1097/MPA.0b013e3182a70bfb. PubMed PMID:24263108 .
  11. Maatouk, DM, Mork, L, Chassot, AA, Chaboissier, MC, Capel, B. Disruption of mitotic arrest precedes precocious differentiation and transdifferentiation of pregranulosa cells in the perinatal Wnt4 mutant ovary. Dev. Biol. 2013;383 (2):295-306. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2013.08.026. PubMed PMID:24036309 PubMed Central PMC4066978.
  12. Lavery, R, Chassot, AA, Pauper, E, Gregoire, EP, Klopfenstein, M, de Rooij, DG et al.. Testicular differentiation occurs in absence of R-spondin1 and Sox9 in mouse sex reversals. PLoS Genet. 2012;8 (12):e1003170. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003170. PubMed PMID:23300469 PubMed Central PMC3531470.
  13. Chassot, AA, Bradford, ST, Auguste, A, Gregoire, EP, Pailhoux, E, de Rooij, DG et al.. WNT4 and RSPO1 together are required for cell proliferation in the early mouse gonad. Development. 2012;139 (23):4461-72. doi: 10.1242/dev.078972. PubMed PMID:23095882 .
  14. Chassot, AA, Gregoire, EP, Lavery, R, Taketo, MM, de Rooij, DG, Adams, IR et al.. RSPO1/β-catenin signaling pathway regulates oogonia differentiation and entry into meiosis in the mouse fetal ovary. PLoS ONE. 2011;6 (10):e25641. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0025641. PubMed PMID:21991325 PubMed Central PMC3185015.
  15. Lavery, R, Lardenois, A, Ranc-Jianmotamedi, F, Pauper, E, Gregoire, EP, Vigier, C et al.. XY Sox9 embryonic loss-of-function mouse mutants show complete sex reversal and produce partially fertile XY oocytes. Dev. Biol. 2011;354 (1):111-22. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2011.03.029. PubMed PMID:21466799 .
  16. Reginensi, A, Clarkson, M, Neirijnck, Y, Lu, B, Ohyama, T, Groves, AK et al.. SOX9 controls epithelial branching by activating RET effector genes during kidney development. Hum. Mol. Genet. 2011;20 (6):1143-53. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddq558. PubMed PMID:21212101 PubMed Central PMC3809456.
  17. Gregoire, EP, Lavery, R, Chassot, AA, Akiyama, H, Treier, M, Behringer, RR et al.. Transient development of ovotestes in XX Sox9 transgenic mice. Dev. Biol. 2011;349 (1):65-77. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2010.10.006. PubMed PMID:20965161 PubMed Central PMC2993827.
  18. Chadi, S, Buscara, L, Pechoux, C, Costa, J, Laubier, J, Chaboissier, MC et al.. R-spondin1 is required for normal epithelial morphogenesis during mammary gland development. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 2009;390 (3):1040-3. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2009.10.104. PubMed PMID:19857464 .
  19. Bradford, ST, Hiramatsu, R, Maddugoda, MP, Bernard, P, Chaboissier, MC, Sinclair, A et al.. The cerebellin 4 precursor gene is a direct target of SRY and SOX9 in mice. Biol. Reprod. 2009;80 (6):1178-88. doi: 10.1095/biolreprod.108.071480. PubMed PMID:19211811 PubMed Central PMC2804802.
  20. Buscara, L, Montazer-Torbati, F, Chadi, S, Auguste, A, Laubier, J, Chassot, AA et al.. Goat RSPO1 over-expression rescues sex-reversal in Rspo1-knockout XX mice but does not perturb testis differentiation in XY or sex-reversed XX mice. Transgenic Res. 2009;18 (4):649-54. doi: 10.1007/s11248-009-9247-2. PubMed PMID:19184501 .
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iBV - Institut de Biologie Valrose

"Centre de Biochimie"

Université Nice Sophia Antipolis
Faculté des Sciences
Parc Valrose
06108 Nice cedex 2