GATA6 is essential for embryonic development of the liver but dispensable for early heart formation.
ABSTRACT Several lines of evidence suggest that GATA6 has an integral role in controlling development of the mammalian liver. Unfortunately, this proposal has been impossible to address directly because mouse embryos lacking GATA6 die during gastrulation. Here we show that the early embryonic deficiency associated with GATA6-knockout mice can be overcome by providing GATA6-null embryos with a wild-type extraembryonic endoderm with the use of tetraploid embryo complementation. Analysis of rescued Gata6-/- embryos revealed that, although hepatic specification occurs normally, the specified cells fail to differentiate and the liver bud does not expand. Although GATA6 is expressed in multiple tissues that impact development of the liver, including the heart, septum transversum mesenchyme, and vasculature, all are relatively unaffected by loss of GATA6, which is consistent with a cell-autonomous requirement for GATA6 during hepatogenesis. We also demonstrate that a closely related GATA factor, GATA4, is expressed transiently in the prehepatic endoderm during hepatic specification and then lost during expansion of the hepatic primordium. Our data support the proposal that GATA4 and GATA6 are functionally redundant during hepatic specification but that GATA6 alone is available for liver bud growth and commitment of the endoderm to a hepatic cell fate.
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ABSTRACT: Several genes are required during the early phases of liver specification, proliferation and differentiation. Here we report that Prox1 is required for hepatocyte migration. Loss of Prox1 leads to formation of a smaller liver with a reduced population of clustered hepatocytes surrounded by a laminin-rich basal membrane.Nature Genetics 08/2000; 25(3):254-5. · 35.53 Impact Factor
Article: Hepatic specification of the gut endoderm in vitro: cell signaling and transcriptional control.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: We have studied the initial development of pluripotent gut endoderm to hepatocytes using a tissue explant system from mouse embryos. We not only find cellular interactions that specify hepatic differentiation but also those that block hepatogenesis in regions of the endoderm that normally give rise to other tissues. The results implicate both positive and negative signaling in early hepatic specification. In vivo footprinting of the albumin enhancer in precursor gut endoderm shows that the transcriptionally silent but potentially active chromatin is characterized by occupancy of an HNF-3 site. Upon hepatic specification, a host of other factors bind nearby sites as the gene becomes active. Genes in pluripotent cells therefore may be marked for potential expression by entry points in chromatin, where additional factors bind during cell type specification. The findings also provide insight into the evolutionary origin of different endodermal cell types.Genes & Development 08/1996; 10(13):1670-82. · 11.66 Impact Factor
Article: Disruption of the HNF-4 gene, expressed in visceral endoderm, leads to cell death in embryonic ectoderm and impaired gastrulation of mouse embryos.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Expression of HNF-4, a transcription factor in the steroid hormone receptor superfamily, is detected only in the visceral endoderm of mouse embryos during gastrulation and is expressed in certain embryonic tissues from 8.5 days of gestation. To examine the role of HNF-4 during embryonic development, we disrupted the gene in embryonic stem cells and found that the homozygous loss of functional HNF-4 protein was an embryonic lethal. Cell death was evident in the embryonic ectoderm at 6.5 days when these cells normally initiate gastrulation. As assessed by expression of Brachyury and HNF-3 beta, primitive streak formation and initial differentiation of mesoderm do occur, but with a delay of approximately 24 h. Development of embryonic structures is severely impaired. These results demonstrate that the expression of HNF-4 in the visceral endoderm is essential for embryonic ectoderm survival and normal gastrulation.Genes & Development 11/1994; 8(20):2466-77. · 11.66 Impact Factor