Increased expression of the FIGLA transcription factor is associated with primordial follicle formation in the human fetal ovary

Rosemary A L Bayne (Lead / Corresponding author), Sarah J Martins da Silva, Richard A Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


The process of primordial follicle formation is central to the determination of a woman's reproductive lifespan, and in humans occurs towards the end of mid-gestation. Gene knockout analysis in the mouse has shown that Figla, a transcription factor specifically expressed in germ cells, is essential for oocytes to survive and form primordial follicles. Our objective was to investigate whether a human homologue present in the genome database plays a similar role in human ovary development. Standard and real-time RT-PCR demonstrated that the human FIGLA gene is expressed in the fetal ovary but not by a range of other tissues, and that expression increases across mid-gestation, rising some 40-fold by the time of primordial follicle formation. The entire coding sequence was cloned and new exonic sequences identified. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays with in vitro-expressed human FIGLA protein showed that, as in the mouse, FIGLA can heterodimerize with E12 protein and bind to the E-box of the human ZP2 promoter. Similar mobility shifts were identified in human fetal ovary extracts. These results suggest that FIGLA is involved in continued oocyte survival as primordial follicles form in the human as in the rodent ovary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-81
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Human Reproduction
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2004


  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA-Binding Proteins/genetics
  • Dimerization
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Helix-Loop-Helix Motifs
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Ovarian Follicle/cytology
  • Ovary/anatomy & histology
  • Pregnancy
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Protein Binding
  • TCF Transcription Factors
  • Testis/chemistry
  • Tissue Extracts
  • Transcription Factor 7-Like 1 Protein
  • Transcription Factors/genetics


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