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Endocrinology. 2001 Mar;142(3):977-86.

GATA factors differentially activate multiple gonadal promoters through conserved GATA regulatory elements.

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  • 1Ontogeny and Reproduction Research Unit, CHUL Research Center, Laval University, Ste-Foy, Québec, Canada G1V 4G2.


The GATA factors are a group of transcriptional regulators that play essential roles in cell differentiation, organ morphogenesis, and tissue-specific gene expression during development. The six vertebrate GATA factors are expressed in a broad spectrum of tissues, including the hemopoietic system, heart, gut, brain, placenta, pituitary, and gonads. Interestingly, GATA-like DNA-binding proteins are found in the gonads of several species, ranging from lower invertebrates to humans, thus supporting an evolutionary conserved and crucial role for these factors in gonadal development and function. Indeed, GATA factors are expressed from the onset of gonadal development and are later found in multiple cell lineages of both the testis and ovary. We now report that GATA-4 differentially activates transcription of several genes expressed in the gonads that encode either steroidogenic enzymes (steroidogenic acute regulatory protein and aromatase), hormones (inhibin alpha and Müllerian inhibiting substance) and a transcription factor (SF-1) known to be essential for gonadal development and function. Thus, our results identify GATA-4 as an important regulator of gonadal gene transcription where its specificity of action is mediated through synergistic interactions with other transcription factors such as SF-1.

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