The RUSH transcription factors 1α and 1β bind to the Rabbit Uteroglobin promoter and are members of the SWI/SNF complex that facilitates transcription by remodeling chromatin (Helicase). To characterize gonadal expression of RUSH, a cRNA probe that recognizes both isoforms was used for in situ hybridization studies. We found RUSH mRNA to be abundant in Sertoli cells from embryonic, neonatal, prepubertal, and pubertal rabbit testes. In adults, RUSH mRNA was detected in tubules with preleptotene spermatocytes and mature spermatids lining the lumen. However, RUSH was undetectable in tubules that contained leptotene spermatocytes and that lacked mature spermatids. In females, RUSH was expressed in presumptive granulosa cells of embryonic and neonatal ovaries before follicle organization. Abundant RUSH mRNA was detected in granulosa and theca cells surrounding preantral follicles of prepubertal and adult ovaries. Expression of RUSH remained high in granulosa cells of antral follicles in mature ovaries but was negligible in late-stage atretic follicles and in corpora lutea. Western blot analysis confirmed the RUSH-1α isoform predominated in both testicular and ovarian tissues. The expression pattern of RUSH indicates transcriptional activity in Sertoli cells and during multiple stages of differentiating granulosa cells, especially those of primordial follicles, which heretofore were considered to be dormant.
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