Specifying Pancreas or Liver

Science's STKE  02 Mar 2004:
Vol. 2004, Issue 222, pp. tw81-TW81
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2222004TW81

To begin to understand how tissue specificity is established and maintained, Odom et al. (see the Perspective by Kulkarni and Kahn) have looked at the genes regulated by the transcription factors HNF1α, HNF4α, and HNF6 in human hepatocytes and pancreatic islet cells. Microarray and immunoprecipitation analyses were used to determine that HNF4α binds to almost half of the actively transcribed genes. HNF6 was involved in regulatory motifs that have been associated with sensitivity to sustained inputs. Lack of these HNF transcriptional regulators can cause a type of diabetes, and thus an understanding of these circuits may help future treatment of this disease.

D. T. Odom, N. Zizlsperger, D. B. Gordon, G. W. Bell, N. J. Rinaldi, H. L. Murray, T. L. Volkert, J. Schreiber, P. A. Rolfe, D. K. Gifford, E. Fraenkel, G. I. Bell, R. A. Young, Control of pancreas and liver gene expression by HNF transcription factors. Science 303, 1378-1381 (2004). [Abstract] [Full Text]

R. N. Kulkarni, C. R. Kahn, HNFs--Linking the liver and pancreatic islets in diabetes. Science 303, 1311-1312 (2004). [Summary] [Full Text]