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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Distinct transcriptional regulation and phylogenetic divergence of human LEFTY genes.

BACKGROUND: Mouse lefty1 and lefty2 genes are expressed on the left side of developing embryos and are required for left-right determination. Here we have studied expression and transcriptional regulatory mechanisms of human LEFTY genes. RESULTS: The human LEFTY locus comprises two functional genes (LEFTY1 and LEFTY2) and a putative pseudogene. LEFTY1 is expressed in colon crypts. However, whereas LEFTY1 mRNA is present in basal cells of the crypts, LEFTY1 protein is localized in the apical region, suggesting that this secreted protein undergoes long-range transport. Human LEFTY2 possesses a left side-specific enhancer ( ASE) like mouse lefty2; however, the LEFTY2 ASE shows markedly higher activity in the floor plate than does the lefty2 ASE. In contrast to mouse lefty1, which is expressed predominantly in the floor plate under the control of a right side-specific silencer, human LEFTY1 is expressed mainly in left lateral plate mesoderm under the control of an ASE-like left side-specific enhancer. The presence of FAST-binding sites in the LEFTY1 enhancer (and their absence in lefty1) contributes to the difference. CONCLUSION: These observations suggest that humans and mice have acquired distinct strategies during evolution for determining the asymmetric expression of LEFTY and lefty genes.[1]


  1. Distinct transcriptional regulation and phylogenetic divergence of human LEFTY genes. Yashiro, K., Saijoh, Y., Sakuma, R., Tada, M., Tomita, N., Amano, K., Matsuda, Y., Monden, M., Okada, S., Hamada, H. Genes Cells (2000) [Pubmed]
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