The paternally expressed gene 3 (Pw1/Peg3) is a mammalian-specific parentally imprinted gene expressed in stem/progenitor cells of the brain and endocrine tissues. Here, we compared phenotypic characteristics in Pw1/Peg3 deficient male and female mice. Our findings indicate that Pw1/Peg3 is a key player for the determination of sexual dimorphism in metabolism and behavior. Mice carrying a paternally inherited Pw1/Peg3 mutant allele manifested postnatal deficits in GH/IGF dependent growth before weaning, sex steroid dependent masculinization during puberty, and insulin dependent fat accumulation in adulthood. As a result, Pw1/Peg3 deficient mice develop a sex-dependent global shift of body metabolism towards accelerated adiposity, diabetic-like insulin resistance, and fatty liver. Furthermore, Pw1/Peg3 deficient males displayed reduced social dominance and competitiveness concomitant with alterations in the vasopressinergic architecture in the brain. This study demonstrates that Pw1/Peg3 provides an epigenetic context that promotes male-specific characteristics through sex steroid pathways during postnatal development.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)