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Dev Biol. 1997 Feb 1;182(1):180-90.

The Pit-1 gene is regulated by distinct early and late pituitary-specific enhancers.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department and School of Medicine, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla 92093-0648, USA.


The differentiation of three anterior pituitary cell types is regulated by the tissue-specific POU domain factor Pit-1, which is initially expressed on Embryonic Day 13.5-14 in mice. The Pit-1 gene remains continuously, highly expressed in the somatotrope, thyrotrope, and lactotrope cells of the adult. Using the Pit-1-defective Snell dwarf as a genetic background, we demonstrate that the Pit-1 gene utilizes distinct enhancers for initial gene activation and for subsequent autoregulation (required for maintenance of expression) and that Pit-1-dependent activation of the distal enhancer can be mediated in the absence of the early enhancer. These two distinct enhancers provide the basis for temporally specific regulation by discrete pituitary-specific factors, events likely to be prototypic for regulation of other classes of genes encoding transcription factors controlling terminal differentiation.

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