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

Pancreatic beta cells express a diverse set of homeobox genes.

Homeobox genes, which are found in all eukaryotic organisms, encode transcriptional regulators involved in cell-type differentiation and development. Several homeobox genes encoding homeodomain proteins that bind and activate the insulin gene promoter have been described. In an attempt to identify additional beta-cell homeodomain proteins, we designed primers based on the sequences of beta-cell homeobox genes cdx3 and lmx1 and the Drosophila homeodomain protein Antennapedia and used these primers to amplify inserts by PCR from an insulinoma cDNA library. The resulting amplification products include sequences encoding 10 distinct homeodomain proteins; 3 of these proteins have not been described previously. In addition, an insert was obtained encoding a splice variant of engrailed-2, a homeodomain protein previously identified in the central nervous system. Northern analysis revealed a distinct pattern of expression for each homeobox gene. Interestingly, the PCR-derived clones do not represent a complete sampling of the beta-cell library because no inserts encoding cdx3 or lmx1 protein were obtained. Beta cells probably express additional homeobox genes. The abundance and diversity of homeodomain proteins found in beta cells illustrate the remarkable complexity and redundancy of the machinery controlling beta-cell development and differentiation.[1]


  1. Pancreatic beta cells express a diverse set of homeobox genes. Rudnick, A., Ling, T.Y., Odagiri, H., Rutter, W.J., German, M.S. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1994) [Pubmed]
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