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EMBO J. 2006 Mar 22;25(6):1344-52. Epub 2006 Mar 2.

IA1 is NGN3-dependent and essential for differentiation of the endocrine pancreas.

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Inserm' U682, Development and Physiopathology of the Intestine and Pancreas, Université Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France.


Neurogenin 3 (Ngn3) is key for endocrine cell specification in the embryonic pancreas and induction of a neuroendocrine cell differentiation program by misexpression in adult pancreatic duct cells. We identify the gene encoding IA1, a zinc-finger transcription factor, as a direct target of Ngn3 and show that it forms a novel branch in the Ngn3-dependent endocrinogenic transcription factor network. During embryonic development of the pancreas, IA1 and Ngn3 exhibit nearly identical spatio-temporal expression patterns. However, embryos lacking Ngn3 fail to express IA1 in the pancreas. Upon ectopic expression in adult pancreatic duct cells Ngn3 binds to chromatin in the IA1 promoter region and activates transcription. Consistent with this direct effect, IA1 expression is normal in embryos mutant for NeuroD1, Arx, Pax4 and Pax6, regulators operating downstream of Ngn3. IA1 is an effector of Ngn3 function as inhibition of IA1 expression in embryonic pancreas decreases the formation of insulin- and glucagon-positive cells by 40%, while its ectopic expression amplifies neuroendocrine cell differentiation by Ngn3 in adult duct cells. IA1 is therefore a novel Ngn3-regulated factor required for normal differentiation of pancreatic endocrine cells.

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