MEIOSIN Directs the Switch from Mitosis to Meiosis in Mammalian Germ Cells

Kei ichiro Ishiguro, Kumi Matsuura, Naoki Tani, Naoki Takeda, Shingo Usuki, Mariko Yamane, Michihiko Sugimoto, Sayoko Fujimura, Mihoko Hosokawa, Shinichiro Chuma, Minoru S.H. Ko, Kimi Araki, Hitoshi Niwa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)


The mechanisms regulating meiotic initiation in mammals are enigmatic. It is known that retinoic acid (RA) signaling plays a pivotal role during meiotic initiation. STRA8, which is expressed in response to RA, is thought to be a key factor promoting meiotic initiation. However, the specific role of STRA8 in meiotic initiation has remained elusive. Here, we identified MEIOSIN as a germ-cell-specific factor that associates with STRA8. MEIOSIN, like STRA8, is expressed in response to RA and plays an essential role in meiotic initiation in both males and females. Functional analyses revealed that MEIOSIN acts as a transcription factor together with STRA8, and that both factors are critical for driving meiotic gene activation. Furthermore, temporally restricted expression of MEIOSIN leads to meiotic entry decision during spermatogenesis. The present study demonstrates that MEIOSIN, in collaboration with STRA8, plays a central role in regulating the mitosis to meiosis germ cell fate decision in mammals. Although meiosis is a fundamental and well-studied biological process, the molecular mechanisms regulating its initiation are poorly understood. Ishiguro et al. identify MEIOSIN as a key initiator of meiosis and elucidate a framework for understanding how switching of the cell cycle from mitosis to meiosis occurs in the mammalian germline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-445.e10
JournalDevelopmental Cell
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Feb 24


  • STRA8
  • cell cycle
  • germ cell
  • meiosis
  • meiotic recombination
  • retinoic acid
  • retinoic acid chromosome
  • spermatogenesis
  • synaptonemal complex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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