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Dev Biol. 2006 Oct 15;298(2):616-31. Epub 2006 Jul 26.

Complementation rescue of Pdx1 null phenotype demonstrates distinct roles of proximal and distal cis-regulatory sequences in pancreatic and duodenal expression.

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Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee 37232-2175, USA.


The unique, well-demarcated expression domain of Pdx1 within the posterior foregut suggests that investigating its transcriptional regulation will provide insight into mechanisms that regionally pattern the endoderm. Previous phylogenetic comparison identified conserved noncoding regions that stimulate transcriptional activity selectively in cultured pancreatic beta cells. Characterization of these regulatory elements is helping to dissect the transcription factor networks that operate within beta cells, which is important for understanding the etiology of beta cell dysfunction and diabetes, as well as for developing methods to produce beta cells in vitro for cell-based therapies. We recently reported that deletion of three proximally located conserved areas (Area I-II-III) from the endogenous Pdx1 locus resulted in severely reduced expression of Pdx1 in the pancreas, and a milder decrease in other foregut tissues. Here, we report transgene-based complementation experiments on Pdx1 null mice, which reveal that the proximal promoter/enhancer region, including Area I-II-III, rescues the pancreatic defects caused by Pdx1 deficiency, but only weakly promotes expression of Pdx1 in the postnatal stomach and duodenum. These results reveal a role for distal cis-regulatory elements in achieving the correct level of extra-pancreatic Pdx1 expression, which is necessary for the production of duodenal GIP cells and stomach gastrin cells.

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