Paternally expressed gene 3 (Pw1/Peg3) promotes sexual dimorphism in metabolism and behavior

Karo Tanaka, Vanessa Besson, Manon Rivagorda, Franck Oury, Giovanna Marazzi, David A Sassoon


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.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPLoS Genetics
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)e1010003
Publication statusPublished - 01.2022

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 205-17 Endocrinology, Diabetology, Metabolism


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