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Genes Cells. 2001 Apr;6(4):345-60.

p48 subunit of mouse PTF1 binds to RBP-Jkappa/CBF-1, the intracellular mediator of Notch signalling, and is expressed in the neural tube of early stage embryos.

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Division of Gene Function in Animals, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, 8916-5 Takayama, Ikoma, Nara 630-0101, Japan.



Development of the pancreas and the nervous tissues is regulated by common transcription factors. A basic helix-loop-helix protein, p48 of pancreas transcription factor 1 (PTF1), is essential for differentiation of the exocrine acinar cells.


We isolated PTF1 p48 from 9.5-day mouse embryos as a binding protein of RBP-Jkappa, a mediator of Notch signalling. p48 bound to RBP-Jkappa more strongly than and in a distinct way from Notch1. In 9.5-12.5 day embryos, p48 was expressed in the dorsal part of the neural tube as well as in the pancreatic buds. Two lines of evidence suggested functions of p48 in neurogenesis: (i) expression of p48 was induced in P19 cells when they committed to neural fate upon retinoic acid treatment, and (ii) p48 over-expressed in Xenopus embryos repressed the development of neuronal precursors. p48 inhibited the MASH1-activated transcription from the E-box, while p48 stimulated transcription from the PTF1 motif synergistically with E47. The p48/E47-activated transcription from the PTF1 motif was stimulated further by RBP-Jkappa and RBP-Jkappa derivatives that mimicked the active RBP-Jkappa/Notch complex.


In developing embryos, p48 is expressed in both the nervous system and the pancreas. p48 inhibits neuronal differentiation. We propose possible mechanisms for this inhibition.

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