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(1/5825) Inactivation of the winged helix transcription factor HNF3alpha affects glucose homeostasis and islet glucagon gene expression in vivo.

Mice homozygous for a null mutation in the winged helix transcription factor HNF3alpha showed severe postnatal growth retardation followed by death between P2 and P12. Homozygous mutant mice were hypoglycemic despite unchanged expression of HNF3 target genes involved in hepatic gluconeogenesis. Whereas insulin and corticosteroid levels were altered as expected, plasma glucagon was reduced markedly in the mutant animals despite the hypoglycemia that should be expected to increase glucagon levels. This correlated with a 70% reduction in pancreatic proglucagon gene expression. We also showed that HNF3alpha could bind to and transactivate the proglucagon gene promoter. These observations invoke a central role for HNF3alpha in the regulatory control of islet genes essential for glucose homeostasis in vivo.  (+info)

(2/5825) Dominant-negative Smad2 mutants inhibit activin/Vg1 signaling and disrupt axis formation in Xenopus.

Smads are central mediators of signal transduction for the TGFbeta superfamily. However, the precise functions of Smad-mediated signaling pathways in early development are unclear. Here we demonstrate a requirement for Smad2 signaling in dorsoanterior axis formation during Xenopus development. Using two point mutations of Smad2 previously identified in colorectal carcinomas, we show that Smad2 ushers Smad4 to the nucleus to form a transcriptional activation complex with the nuclear DNA-binding protein FAST-1 and that the mutant proteins interact normally with FAST-1 but fail to recruit Smad4 into the nucleus. This mechanism of inhibition specifically restricts the dominant-negative activity of these mutants to the activin/Vg1 signaling pathway without inhibiting BMPs. Furthermore, expression of these mutants in Xenopus animal caps inhibits but does not abolish activin and Vg1 induction of mesoderm and in the embryo results in a truncated dorsoanterior axis. These studies define a mechanism through which mutations in Smad2 may block TGFbeta-dependent signaling and suggest a critical role for inductive signaling mediated by the Smad2 pathway in Xenopus organizer function.  (+info)

(3/5825) Pleiotropic skeletal and ocular phenotypes of the mouse mutation congenital hydrocephalus (ch/Mf1) arise from a winged helix/forkhead transcriptionfactor gene.

Congenital hydrocephalus is an etiologically diverse, poorly understood, but relatively common birth defect. Most human cases are sporadic with familial forms showing considerable phenotypic and etiologic heterogeneity. We have studied the autosomal recessive mouse mutation congenital hydrocephalus ( ch ) to identify candidate human hydrocephalus genes and their modifiers. ch mice have a congenital, lethal hydrocephalus in association with multiple developmental defects, notably skeletal defects, in tissues derived from the cephalic neural crest. We utilized positional cloning methods to map ch in the vicinity of D13Mit294 and confirm that the ch phenotype is caused by homozygosity for a nonsense mutation in a gene encoding a winged helix/forkhead transcription factor ( Mf1 ). Based on linked genetic markers, we performed detailed phenotypic characterization of mutant homozygotes and heterozygotes to demonstrate the pleiotropic effects of the mutant gene. Surprisingly, ch heterozygotes have the glaucoma-related distinct phenotype of multiple anterior segment defects resembling Axenfeld-Rieger anomaly. We also localized a second member of this gene family ( Hfh1 ), a candidate for other developmental defects, approximately 470 kb proximal to Mf1.  (+info)

(4/5825) Xenopus brain factor-2 controls mesoderm, forebrain and neural crest development.

The forkhead type Brain Factor 2 from mouse and chicken help pattern the forebrain, optic vesicle and kidney. We have isolated a Xenopus homolog (Xbf2) and found that during gastrulation it is expressed in the dorsolateral mesoderm, where it helps specify this territory by downregulating BMP-4 and its downstream genes. Indeed, Xbf2 overexpression caused partial axis duplication. Interference with BMP-4 signaling also occurs in isolated animal caps, since Xbf2 induces neural tissue. Within the neurula forebrain, Xbf2 and the related Xbf1 gene are expressed in the contiguous diencephalic and telencephalic territories, respectively, and each gene represses the other. Finally, Xbf2 seems to participate in the control of neural crest migration. Our data suggest that XBF2 interferes with BMP-4 signaling, both in mesoderm and ectoderm.  (+info)

(5/5825) Akt promotes cell survival by phosphorylating and inhibiting a Forkhead transcription factor.

Survival factors can suppress apoptosis in a transcription-independent manner by activating the serine/ threonine kinase Akt, which then phosphorylates and inactivates components of the apoptotic machinery, including BAD and Caspase 9. In this study, we demonstrate that Akt also regulates the activity of FKHRL1, a member of the Forkhead family of transcription factors. In the presence of survival factors, Akt phosphorylates FKHRL1, leading to FKHRL1's association with 14-3-3 proteins and FKHRL1's retention in the cytoplasm. Survival factor withdrawal leads to FKHRL1 dephosphorylation, nuclear translocation, and target gene activation. Within the nucleus, FKHRL1 triggers apoptosis most likely by inducing the expression of genes that are critical for cell death, such as the Fas ligand gene.  (+info)

(6/5825) Association between mouse nude gene expression and the initiation of epithelial terminal differentiation.

Loss-of-function mutations in Whn (Hfh 11), a winged-helix/forkhead transcription factor, result in the nude mouse phenotype. To determine the whn expression pattern during development, we utilized mice in which a beta-galactosidase reporter gene was placed under the control of the wild-type whn promoter by homologous recombination (M. Nehls et al., 1996, Science 272, 886-889). Sites of reporter expression were confirmed by immunohistochemical staining for Whn protein or by in situ hybridization for whn mRNA. At all developmental stages, whn expression is restricted to epithelial cells. In addition to the skin and thymus, whn is expressed in the developing nails, nasal passages, tongue, palate, and teeth. In embryonic epidermis, suprabasal cells induce whn expression at the same time that terminal differentiation markers first appear. As the epidermis matures, whn promoter activity is found primarily in the first suprabasal layer, which contains keratinocytes in the early stages of terminal differentiation. In developing and mature anagen hair follicles, whn is expressed at high levels in the postmitotic precursor cells of the hair shaft and inner root sheath. Though principally associated with terminal differentiation, whn expression is also detected in progenitor cell compartments; in the hair bulb matrix and basal epidermal layer, a small subclass of cells expresses whn, while in the outer root sheath, whn promoter activity is induced as the follicle completes its elongation. Within these compartments, rare cells exhibit both whn expression and the nuclear proliferation marker Ki-67. The results suggest that whn expression encompasses the transition from a proliferative to a postmitotic state and that whn regulates the initiation of terminal differentiation.  (+info)

(7/5825) A Smad transcriptional corepressor.

Following TGFbeta receptor-mediated phosphorylation and association with Smad4, Smad2 moves into the nucleus, binds to target promoters in association with DNA-binding cofactors, and recruits coactivators such as p300/CBP to activate transcription. We identified the homeodomain protein TGIF as a Smad2-binding protein and a repressor of transcription. A TGFbeta-activated Smad complex can recruit TGIF and histone deacetylases (HDACs) to a Smad target promoter, repressing transcription. Thus, upon entering the nucleus, a Smad2-Smad4 complex may interact with coactivators, forming a transcriptional activation complex, or with TGIF and HDACs, forming a transcriptional repressor complex. Formation of one of these two mutually exclusive complexes is determined by the relative levels of Smad corepressors and coactivators within the cell.  (+info)

(8/5825) Developmental competence of the gut endoderm: genetic potentiation by GATA and HNF3/fork head proteins.

A long-standing problem in developmental biology has been to understand how the embryonic germ layers gain the competence to differentiate into distinct cell types. Genetic studies have shown that members of the GATA and HNF3/fork head transcription factor families are essential for the formation and differentiation of gut endoderm tissues in worms, flies, and mammals. Recent in vivo footprinting studies have shown that GATA and HNF3 binding sites in chromatin are occupied on a silent gene in endoderm that has the potential to be activated solely in that germ layer. These and other data indicate that these evolutionarily conserved factors help impart the competence of a gene to be activated in development, a phenomenon called genetic potentiation. The mechanistic implications of genetic potentiation and its general significance are discussed.  (+info)