OBJECTIVE: Identification of the regulatory mechanism for arrest and initiation of primordial follicular growth is crucial for female fertility. Previously, we found 15 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) that were specifically abundant in the day-5-subtracted cDNA library and that the B357 clone was novel. The present study was conducted to obtain the whole sequence of the novel gene including B357 and to characterize its mRNA and protein expression in mouse ovary and testis. METHODS: The extended sequence of the 2,965-bp cDNA fragment for the clone B357 was named 5-day-ovary-specific gene-1 (5DOS1) and submitted to GenBank (accession number AY751521). Expression of 5DOS1 was characterized in both female and male gonads at various developmental stages by Northern blotting, real-time RT-PCR, in situ hybridization, Western blotting, and immunohistochemistry. RESULTS: The 5DOS1 transcript was highly expressed in the adult testis, brain, and muscle as compared to the other tissues. In the ovary, the 5DOS1 transcript was detected in all oocytes from primordial to antral follicles, and highly expressed at day 5 after birth and decreased thereafter. In contrast, expression of 5DOS1 showed a gradual increase during testicular development and its expression was limited to various stages of male germ cells except spermatogonia. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first report on the expression and characterization of the 5DOS1 gene in the mouse gonads. Further functional analysis of the 5DOS1 protein will be required to predict its role in gametogenesis.