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Dev Biol. 1991 Jul;146(1):117-30.

Developmental regulation of gap junction gene expression during mouse embryonic development.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Research Institute of Scripps Clinic, La Jolla, California 92037.


The expression of products from three different gap junction genes (alpha 1, beta 1 and beta 2) was studied in pre- and postimplantation mouse embryos, during organogenesis, during differentiation of F9 teratocarcinoma cells, and in cultured embryonic stem (ES) cells. In this analysis, the following results were obtained. 1) Pre- and postimplantation mouse embryos. The alpha 1 transcript was the earliest gap junction RNA detected (in the 4 cell stage embryo) and its abundance increased significantly throughout subsequent development. 2) Organogenesis. Evidence was obtained for developmental expression of these three different gap junction genes during early embryogenesis and throughout the late stages of organogenesis. The expression patterns for these genes may be related to differences in gap junctional communication requirements for fetal organ development versus neonatal and adult organ function, or the utilization of different genes by different cell types during organogenesis. 3) During the differentiation of F9 cells in culture, expression of these three genes was modulated. Thus, this is the first evidence for modulation of gap junction gene expression during the differentiation of a single cell type in culture. 4) In an ES cell culture line, alpha 1 was the only gap junction gene product detected. This is consistent with the findings of alpha 1 expression in the embryonic inner cell mass region and in undifferentiated teratocarcinoma cells.

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