A Novel PEPP Homeobox Gene, TOX, Is Highly Glutamic Acid Rich and Specifically Expressed in Murine Testis and Ovary

Yuan Lin Kang, Hung Li, Wei Hwa Chen, Yi Shiuan Tzeng, Yi Lun Lai, Hsiu Mei Hsieh-Li

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16 Citations (Scopus)


The homeobox gene superfamily has been highly conserved throughout evolution. These genes act as transcription factors during several important developmental processes. To explore the functional roles of homeobox genes in spermatogenesis, we performed a degenerate oligonucleotide polymerase chain reaction (PCR) screening of a testis cDNA library and isolated a novel mouse homeobox gene. This gene, which we named Tox, encodes a homeodomain protein distantly related to members of the Paired/Pax (Prd/Pax) family. A phylogenetic analysis revealed Tox to be a member of the recently defined PEPP sub-family of Paired-like homeobox genes. Tox was mapped to chromosome X, with its homeodomain organized into three exons. A special feature of Tox is that the encoded protein sequence contains two poly-glutamic acid (poly E) stretches, which make Tox highly acidic. Tox transcripts were detected predominately in the testis and ovary of mice. Tox expression in testes was initiated soon after birth, mainly in Sertoli cells and spermatogonia; however, in adult mice, Tox expression shifts to the spermatids and spermatozoa. Tox expression in ovaries was detected in somatic cells of follicles, early on in theca cells, and in both granulosa and theca cells at the later stages of follicular development. Based on these results, Tox may play an important role during gametogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)828-836
Number of pages9
JournalBiology of Reproduction
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Mar 1



  • Ovary
  • Testis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Cell Biology

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