Send to

Choose Destination
Dev Biol. 2005 May 15;281(2):286-98.

Brn1/2/4, the predicted midgut regulator of the endo16 gene of the sea urchin embryo.

Author information

Division of Biology 156-29, California Institute of Technology, 1200 East California Boulevard, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA.


A specific prediction of our detailed cis-regulatory analysis of the Strongylocentrotus purpuratus (Sp) endo16 gene was that the later expression of this gene would be driven by a midgut-specific transcriptional regulator. We have now identified this factor and determined some of its functions. The cDNA sequence reveals it to be a POU domain factor related closely to the mammalian factors Brain-1, -2, and -4. The factor was termed SpBrn1/2/4 (henceforth Brn1/2/4). Quantitative measurements of transcript prevalence show that the gene is first activated in the 20-h blastula, but there remain only about 100 molecules of brn1/2/4 mRNA per embryo (only a few per endoderm cell) until an abrupt 10-fold increase occurs as gastrulation begins. Measured in the same embryos, the late rise in prevalence of endo16 transcripts follows that of brn1/2/4 transcripts. As predicted by the endo16 model, brn1/2/4 expression is confined perfectly to the midgut, coincident with the domain of endo16 expression. The kinetics of accumulation of these transcripts indicates that the switch into the late phase of endo16 expression occurs when the brn1/2/4 transcript level nears its plateau (2000 molecules mRNA per embryo), after which each endo16 gene produces about 1 mRNA every 2 min (about 380 molecules mRNA per min in the whole embryo). Arrest of Brn1/2/4 translation by MASO treatment blocks the late phase of endo16 expression and specifically abolishes expression of cis-regulatory Module B of endo16, while not affecting Module A, also as predicted. The brn1/2/4 gene lies downstream of the regulatory genes executing post-gastrular specification of the midgut, as shown by further gene expression perturbation experiments which provide an initial glimpse of the underlying network architecture.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center