Genome-wide DNA-binding profile of SRY-box transcription factor 3 (SOX3) in mouse testes

Dale McAninch, Ella P. Thomson, Paul Q. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Spermatogenesis is the male version of gametogenesis, where germ cells are transformed into haploid spermatozoa through a tightly controlled series of mitosis, meiosis and differentiation. This process is reliant on precisely timed changes in gene expression controlled by several different hormonal and transcriptional mechanisms. One important transcription factor is SRY-box transcription factor 3 (SOX3), which is transiently expressed within the uncommitted spermatogonial stem cell population. Sox3-null mouse testes exhibit a block in spermatogenesis, leading to infertility or subfertility. However, the molecular role of SOX3 during spermatogonial differentiation remains poorly understood because the genomic regions targeted by this transcription factor have not been identified. In this study we used chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing to identify and characterise the endogenous genome-wide binding profile of SOX3 in mouse testes at Postnatal Day 7. We show that neurogenin3 (Neurog3 or Ngn3) is directly targeted by SOX3 in spermatogonial stem cells via a novel testes-specific binding site. We also implicate SOX3, for the first time, in direct regulation of histone gene expression and demonstrate that this function is shared by both neural progenitors and testes, and with another important transcription factor required for spermatogenesis, namely promyelocytic leukaemia zinc-finger (PLZF). Together, these data provide new insights into the function of SOX3 in different stem cell contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1260-1270
Number of pages11
JournalReproduction, Fertility and Development
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Nov 2020


  • chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP)
  • gene regulation
  • histones
  • spermatogonia
  • testis
  • transcription factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Endocrinology
  • Developmental Biology

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