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Mech Dev. 2001 Apr;102(1-2):57-66.

Identification of essential sequence motifs in the node/notochord enhancer of Foxa2 (Hnf3beta) gene that are conserved across vertebrate species.

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Laboratory of Developmental Biology, Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biology, Osaka University, 1-3 Yamada-oka, Suita, 565-0871, Osaka, Japan.


The expression of a winged-helix transcription factor, Foxa2/HNF3beta, is essential for development of the node and the notochord. We examined the node/notochord enhancer of mouse Foxa2 for sequence motifs conserved across vertebrate species. We cloned Foxa2 genes from chicken and fish, and identified the respective node/notochord enhancers that were active in transgenic mouse embryos. Comparison of the sequences of the enhancers revealed three evolutionally conserved sequence motifs, CS1, CS2 and CS3. Mutational analysis of the mouse enhancer indicated that CS3 is indispensable for gene expression in the node and the notochord, while CS1 and CS2 are required to augment enhancer activity. These motifs do not correspond to the consensus binding sequences of transcription factors known to be involved in node/notochord development.

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