Steroidogenic factor 1 (SF-1) is essential for ovarian development and function.
The orphan nuclear receptor steroidogenic factor 1 (SF-1) was identified originally as a key regulator of the tissue-specific expression of the cytochrome P450 steroid hydroxylases. Hints at considerably broader roles for SF-1 came from analyses of its expression pattern in mouse embryos. As anticipated, SF-1 was expressed in the adrenal glands and gonads from their early stages of development. Surprisingly, SF-1 also was expressed outside of the primary steroidogenic tissues in the anterior pituitary and hypothalamus. SF-1 knockout mice dramatically confirmed its multiple essential roles in vivo. These mice lacked adrenal glands and gonads, leading to adrenocortical insufficiency and male-to-female sex reversal of their internal and external genitalia. SF-1 knockout mice also had impaired pituitary expression of gonadotropins and agenesis of the ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus (VMH), confirming roles of SF-1 at all three levels of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. With some focus on the ovary, this review summarizes experiments that have defined essential roles of SF-1 in endocrine development, and highlights important areas for future studies.
Hanley, NA; Ikeda, Y; Luo, X; Parker, KL
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