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Dev Biol. 1997 Aug 15;188(2):337-48.

Evidence for the involvement of the Gli gene family in embryonic mouse lung development.

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Department of Cell Biology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, 37232-2175, USA.


Murine Gli, Gli2, and Gli3 are zinc finger genes related to Drosophila cubitus interuptus, a component of the hedgehog signal transduction pathway. In the embryonic lung, all three Gli genes are strongly expressed at the pseudoglandular stage, in distinct but overlapping domains of the mesoderm. Expression of Gli and Gli3, but not of Gli2, is subsequently downregulated at the canalicular stage, coincident with a decline in the expression of sonic hedgehog (Shh) and the hedgehog receptor gene, patched (Ptc). Overexpression of Shh in the lung results in increased levels of Ptc mRNA. Gli, but not Gli2, is also upregulated, suggesting a differential involvement of the Gli genes in the regulation of Ptc by SHH during lung development. Gli3 is not upregulated by Shh overexpression. However, its importance for lung development is shown by the finding that Gli3XtJ embryos, homozygous for a mutation involving a deletion of the Gli3 gene, have a stereotypic pattern of abnormalities in lung morphogenesis. The pulmonary defects in these embryos, consisting of localized shape changes and size reductions, correlate with normal Gli3 expression. Thus, our data indicate that one of the Gli genes, Gli3, is essential for normal lung development, and that another, Gli, can be placed downstream of Shh signaling in the lung.

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