Turning on the male – SRY, SOX9 and sex determination in mammalsKnower K.C. · Kelly S. · Harley V.R.
aHuman Molecular Genetics Laboratory, Prince Henry’s Institute of Medical Research, Clayton, Victoria bDepartment of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Monash University, Clayton Campus, Victoria (Australia)
The decision of the bi-potential gonad to develop into either a testis or ovary is determined by the presence or absence of the Sex-determining Region gene on the Y chromosome (SRY). Since its discovery, almost 13 years ago, the molecular role that SRY plays in initiating the male sexual development cascade has proven difficult to ascertain. While biochemical studies of clinical mutants and mouse genetic models have helped in our understanding of SRY function, no direct downstream targets of SRY have yet been identified. There are, however, a number of other genes of equal importance in determining sexual phenotype, expressed before and after expression of SRY. Of these, one has proven of central importance to mammals and vertebrates, SOX9. This review describes our current knowledge of SRY and SOX9 structure and function in the light of recent key developments.
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