Mfge8 (milk fat globule-EGF-factor 8) encodes a soluble integrin-binding protein containing two Notch-like EGF domains and two discoidin domains. It mediates cell-to-cell interaction by binding to integrin αvβ3 via the RGD motif of its second EGF domain. Mfge8 was first expressed at 10.0 dpc in cells of the coelomic epithelium covering the mesonephros, and at 10.5 dpc Mfge8-expressing cells were found in the mesenchyme underneath the coelomic epithelium of the genital ridges. At 11.5-12.5 dpc, Mfge8 expressing cells were found in the stromal tissues subjacent to the coelomic epithelium that envelop the fetal gonad of both sexes. MFG-E8 protein was accumulated extra-cellularly in the interstitial tissues at the boundary of the mesonephros and the genital ridges. A comparison of the expression domains of Mfge8 and several gene markers showed that Mfge8 expression did not significantly overlap with the expression domain of Wt1 or Emx2, but partially with that of Lhx9 in 11.5-day XY gonads. Comparison of the expression pattern of Mfge8 with that of Hsd3β1 in the 12.5-day testes revealed that the Mfge8-positive cells constitute a previously uncharacterized somatic cell type which is distinct from Sertoli cells, Leydig cells, peritubular myoid cells and the endothelial cells.
- Coelomic epithelium
- Integrin-binding protein
- Milk fat globule-EGF-factor 8