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

Expression patterns of vHNF1 and HNF1 homeoproteins in early postimplantation embryos suggest distinct and sequential developmental roles.

The homeoproteins HNF1 (LFB1/HNF1-A) and vHNF1 (LFB3/HNF1 beta) interact with an essential control element of a group of liver-specific genes. During development, these putative target genes are initially expressed in the visceral endoderm of the yolk sac and subsequently in fetal liver. To assess the possible involvement of HNF1 and/or vHNF1 as transcriptional regulators in the early steps of visceral endoderm differentiation, we have analyzed the expression pattern of both factors both in vitro during differentiation of murine F9 embryonal carcinoma cells and in vivo during early postimplantation mouse development. We show here that differentiation of F9 cells into either visceral or parietal endoderm is accompanied by a sharp induction in vHNF1 mRNA and protein. By contrast, only low levels of aberrantly sized HNF1 transcripts, but not DNA-binding protein, are found in F9 cells and its differentiated derivatives. At 6-7.5 days of gestation, high levels of vHNF1 mRNA are present in the visceral extraembryonic endoderm, which co-localize with transcripts of the transthyretin gene. HNF1 transcripts are first detected in the yolk sac roughly two embryonic days later, after the developmental onset of transcription of target genes. As development proceeds, discrepancies are observed between the level of transcripts of both vHNF1 and HNF1 and their respective nuclear binding proteins, notably in the yolk sac and embryonic kidney. In addition, we show that two alternative spliced isoforms of vHNF1 mRNA, vHNF-A and vHNF1-B, are expressed in both embryonic and adult tissues. Taken together, these data suggest that vHNF1 participates as a regulatory factor in the initial transcriptional activation of the target genes in the visceral endoderm of the yolk sac, whereas the later appearance of HNF1 could be required for maintenance of their expression. Our results also provide evidence of a posttranscriptional level of control of vHNF1 and HNF1 gene expression during development, in addition to the spatial restriction in transcription.[1]


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