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Gastroenterology. 1998 Aug;115(2):381-7.

Misexpression of the pancreatic homeodomain protein IDX-1 by the Hoxa-4 promoter associated with agenesis of the cecum.

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Laboratory of Molecular Endocrinology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.



The endoderm-specific homeodomain transcription factor IDX-1 is critical for pancreas development and for the regulation of islet cell-specific genes. During development, IDX-1 is expressed in the epithelial cells of the endoderm in the pancreatic anlage of the foregut. The aim of this study was to determine whether IDX-1 may have potential properties of a master homeotic determinant of pancreas and/or gut development.


Transgenic mice were generated in which the expression of IDX-1 was misdirected by a promoter of the mesoderm-specific homeodomain protein Hoxa-4 known to express in the stomach and hindgut during development. The expectation was the formation of ectopic pancreatic tissue or alterations of gut patterning or morphology.


Although no ectopic induction of pancreatic markers was found in these transgenic mice, they manifested an altered midgut-hindgut union and agenesis of the cecum. Further, IDX-1 binds to the gut-specific homeodomain protein Cdx-2 and inhibits transactivation of the sucrase-isomaltase promoter by Cdx-2.


These findings further support the emerging understanding that interactions among different classes of homeodomain proteins, expressed in a spatially and temporally restricted manner during development, determine the pattern of organogenesis. A possible mechanism for the dysmorphogenesis of the proximal colon may be an inhibition of Cdx-2 actions by IDX-1.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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