ABSTRACT: A pancreatic islet cell-specific enhancer sequence (PISCES) shared by the rat insulin-I, glucagon, and somatostatin genes binds the paired domain-containing transcription factor Pax6 and confers strong transcriptional activity in pancreatic islet cell lines. It was found recently that Pax6 plays a major role in islet development. In the present study, transgenic mice were used to investigate PISCES-mediated transcription in normal adult islets in vivo. In several independent mouse lines expressing a PISCES-luciferase reporter transgene, the PISCES motif directed gene expression in the adult eye, cerebellum, and discrete brain areas, consistent with the tissue distribution of Pax6. These tissues contain two Pax6 isoforms caused by alternative splicing, only one of which was found to bind the PISCES motif in electrophoretic mobility shift assays. No reporter gene expression was detected in adult pancreatic islets or in any other peripheral organ tested. RT-PCR analysis confirmed that Pax6 mRNA is present in adult islets. These results demonstrate that the PISCES motif is sufficient to direct highly tissue-specific gene expression in whole animals. The lack of PISCES-mediated transcription in adult islets indicates that the Pax6 protein(s) expressed in adult pancreatic islets function differently from the ones in the eye and cerebellum.
Molecular Endocrinology 06/1999; 13(5):718-28. · 4.54 Impact Factor