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Development. 1992 Nov;116(3):611-23.

PAX8, a human paired box gene: isolation and expression in developing thyroid, kidney and Wilms' tumors.

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Institute for Molecular Biology, Salzburg, Austria.


Recent evidence indicates a crucial role for paired box genes in mouse and human embryogenesis. The murine Pax8 gene encodes a sequence-specific transcription factor and is expressed in the developing secretory system as well as in the developing and adult thyroid. This restricted expression pattern suggested involvement of the Pax8 gene in the morphogenesis of the above organs and prompted us to investigate the PAX8 gene in humans. In this report, we describe the isolation and characterization of PAX8 cDNAs from a human adult kidney cDNA library. An open reading frame of 450 amino acids contains the 128 amino acid paired domain at its amino-terminal end. The predicted human and mouse Pax8 proteins show 97.8% conservation and are identical in their paired domains. Two independent cDNA clones reveal differential splicing of the PAX8 transcripts resulting in the removal of a 63 amino acid serine-rich region from the carboxy end of the predicted Pax8 protein. The truncated Pax8 protein becomes more similar to the predicted murine Pax2 protein, that is also expressed during kidney development and lacks the serine rich region. RNAse protection analysis shows the presence of both PAX8 transcripts in human thyroid, kidney and five Wilms' tumors. No truncated Pax8 transcripts could be detected in mouse kidney. In situ hybridization to sections of human embryonic and fetal kidney showed expression of PAX8 in condensed mesenchyme, comma-shaped and S-shaped bodies. In contrast, PAX2 expression was present mainly in the very early stages of differentiation, in the induced, condensing mesenchyme. This restricted expression pattern suggests a specific role for both genes during glomeruli maturation.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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