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Dev Dyn. 1997 Nov;210(3):305-14.

Hepatocyte nuclear factor-3beta limits cellular diversity in the developing respiratory epithelium and alters lung morphogenesis in vivo.

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Children's Hospital Medical Center, Division of Pulmonary Biology, Cincinnati, Ohio 45229-3039, USA.


Hepatocyte nuclear factor-3beta (HNF-3beta), a nuclear protein of the winged helix family of transcription factors, is known to play a critical role in the formation of the embryonic node, notochord, and foregut endoderm. HNF-3beta influences the expression of a number of target genes in the respiratory epithelium, activating transcription of thyroid transcription factor-1, surfactant protein-B and clara cell secretory protein. In order to discern the role of HNF-3beta in differentiation and gene expression in the lung, HNF-3beta was expressed in developing respiratory epithelial cells of transgenic mice, under the control of the human surfactant protein C gene promoter. Pulmonary abnormalities were observed in the lungs of fetal mice bearing the HNF-3beta transgene. Differentiation of distal respiratory epithelial cells was arrested in the early pseudoglandular stage. Branching morphogenesis and vasculogenesis were markedly disrupted in association with decreased E-cadherin and vascular endothelial growth factor expression. HNF-3beta limits cellular diversity of developing respiratory epithelium and alters lung morphogenesis in vivo, suggesting that precise temporal-spatial regulation of HNF-3beta expression is critical for respiratory epithelial cell differentiation and lung morphogenesis.

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