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Gene. 1998 Dec 11;224(1-2):77-86.

Molecular cloning of the human Hand1 gene/cDNA and its tissue-restricted expression in cytotrophoblastic cells and heart.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Vienna, W ahringer Gürtel 18-20, A-1090, Vienna, Austria.


The basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) factor Hand1 plays a role in the developing chicken heart and is required for trophoblast giant cell differentiation and cardiac looping of mouse embryonic development. Here, we report the cloning of the human Hand1 cDNA and gene from a heart-specific cDNA library and a genomic lambda-DNA library, respectively. We present the nucleotide sequence of a 1.75kb cDNA clone, encoding the presumptive 215 amino acid human Hand1 protein, and show homology comparison of the conserved bHLH region between different species. In vitro transcription-translation of Hand1 mRNA and analysis of protein size suggest that the Hand1 polypeptide is (post)translationally modified. By Southern blot analysis we demonstrate that the isolated genomic DNA clone harbours the entire Hand1 gene and describe molecular structure and sequences of the two 799 and 938bp exons and the single 1.56kb intron. The expression pattern of the mRNA in different human tissues revealed that Hand1 transcripts are restricted to the heart, suggesting that the protein could be required for cardiac-specific gene transcription and function in adults. Hand1 transcripts were undetectable in a non-tumorigenic villous trophoblast cell line, immunopurified cytotrophoblasts undergoing in vitro differentiation, and first trimester placental tissue, suggesting that the transcription factor is not involved in the development of villous and extravillous trophoblast cell lineages. Hand1 mRNA, however, was abundantly expressed in cytotrophoblastic Jeg-3 and BeWo cells, suggesting that Hand1 could be required for early trophoblast differentiation.

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