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Mol Cell Biol. 1996 Jan; 16(1): 19–28.
PMCID: PMC230974

Activation of proglucagon gene transcription through a novel promoter element by the caudal-related homeodomain protein cdx-2/3.


The proglucagon gene is expressed in a highly restricted tissue-specific manner in the A cells of the pancreatic islet and the L cells of the small and large intestines. The results of previous experiments indicate that cell-specific expression of the proglucagon gene is mediated by proteins that interact with the proximal G1 promoter element. We show here that the G1 element contains several AT-rich subdomains that bind proteins present in islet and enteroendocrine cell extracts. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay experiments using specific antisera identified the homeobox protein cdx-2/3 (which designates the same homeobox protein called cdx-2 for mice and cdx-3 for hamsters) as a major component of the G1-Gc2 complex in islet and intestinal cells. Mutations of the Gc element that decreased cdx-2/3 binding also resulted in decreased proglucagon promoter activity in islet and intestinal cell lines. The finding that cdx-2/3 mediates activation of the proglucagon promoter in both islet and enteroendocrine cells is consistent with the common endodermal lineage of these tissues and provides new insight into the coordinate regulation of genes expressed in both pancreatic and intestinal endocrine cell types.

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Selected References

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