Mammalian Development Laboratory • Saga Group

Developmental genetic studies using gene engineering technology in mice



Research Summary

We aim to elucidate molecular mechanisms involved in several developmental processes. Major targets are mesoderm tissues and germ cell development; sexual fate decision, spermatogenesis and oogeneis. We like to understand mechanisms how germ cells chose two alternative pathways to form sperm or oocyte. For the functional analyses, we use Cas9-mediated gene editing technology to facilitate mutant mouse production.

(A-B) Notch signaling is activated only in the caudal part of each somite. (C) Nanos2 proteins (green) are localized in the P-bodies in cytoplasm of embryonic male germ cells (red). (D) A section of adult seminiferous tubule, in which Nanos2 (green) expression is maintained in the spermatogonial stem cell (magenta). Only stem cells remain, while sperm differentiation is suppressed. (E-F) Sections of ovaries at birthday (E) and 12 days after birth (F). We are interested in the mechanism of primordial follicle activation (green in F) after cyst (magenta in E) breakdown.


Wu, Q., Fukuda, K., Kato, Y., Zhou, Z., Deng, C.X., and Saga, Y. (2016). Sexual fate change of XX germ cells caused by the deletion of SMAD4 and STRA8 independent of somatic sex reprogramming. PLoS Biol 14, e1002553.

Kato, Y., Katsuki, T., Kokubo, H., Masuda, A., and Saga, Y. (2016). Dazl is a target RNA suppressed by mammalian NANOS2 in sexually differentiating male germ cells. Nat Commun 7, 11272.

Suzuki, A., Niimi, Y., Shinmyozu, K., Zhou, Z., Kiso, M., and Saga, Y. (2016). Dead end1 is an essential partner of NANOS2 for selective binding of target RNAs in male germ cell development. EMBO Rep 17, 37-46.

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