Kallmann syndrome is characterized by hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism and anosmia. The syndrome can be caused by mutations in several genes, but the X-linked form is caused by mutation in the Kallmann syndrome 1 (KAL1). KAL1 plays a critical role in gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neuronal migration that is essential for the normal development of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. Interestingly, KAL1 appears to be missing from the rodent X, and no orthologue has been detected as yet. We investigated KAL1 during development and in adults of an Australian marsupial, the tammar wallaby, Macropus eugenii. Marsupial KAL1 maps to an autosome within a group of genes that was added as a block to the X chromosome in eutherian evolution. KAL1 expression was widespread in embryonic and adult tissues. In the adult testis, tammar KAL1 mRNA and protein were detected in the germ cells at specific stages of differentiation. In the adult testis, the protein encoded by KAL1, anosmin-1, was restricted to the round spermatids and elongated spermatids. In the adult ovary, anosmin-1 was not only detected in the oocytes but was also localized in the granulosa cells throughout folliculogenesis. This is the first examination of KAL1 mRNA and protein localization in adult mammalian gonads. The protein localization suggests that KAL1 participates in gametogenesis not only through the development of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis by activation of GnRH neuronal migration, but also directly within the gonads themselves. Because KAL1 is autosomal in marsupials but is X-linked in eutherians, its conserved involvement in gametogenesis supports the hypothesis that reproduction-related genes were actively recruited to the eutherian X chromosome.
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Vol. 84 • No. 3