A threshold of GATA4 and GATA6 expression is required for cardiovascular development.
ABSTRACT: The zinc-finger transcription factors GATA4 and GATA6 play critical roles in embryonic development. Mouse embryos lacking GATA4 die at embryonic day (E) 8.5 because of failure of ventral foregut closure and cardiac bifida, whereas GATA6 is essential for development of the visceral endoderm. Although mice that are heterozygous for either a GATA4 or GATA6 null allele are normal, we show that compound heterozygosity of GATA4 and GATA6 results in embryonic lethality by E13.5 accompanied by a spectrum of cardiovascular defects, including thin-walled myocardium, ventricular and aortopulmonary septal defects, and abnormal smooth muscle development. Myocardial hypoplasia in GATA4/GATA6 double heterozygous mutant embryos is associated with reduced proliferation of cardiomyocytes, diminished expression of the myogenic transcription factor MEF2C (myocyte enhancer factor 2C), and down-regulation of beta-myosin heavy chain expression, a key determinant of cardiac contractility. These findings reveal a threshold of GATA4 and GATA6 activity that is required for gene expression in the developing cardiovascular system and underscore the potential of recessive mutations to perturb the delicate regulation of cardiovascular development.
Project description:Recently, heterozygous mutations in GATA6 have been found in neonatal diabetic patients with failed pancreatic organogenesis. To investigate the roles of GATA4 and GATA6 in mouse pancreas organogenesis, we conditionally inactivated these genes within the pancreas. Single inactivation of either gene did not have a major impact on pancreas formation, indicating functional redundancy. However, double Gata4/Gata6 mutant mice failed to develop pancreata, died shortly after birth, and displayed hyperglycemia. Morphological defects in Gata4/Gata6 mutant pancreata were apparent during embryonic development, and the epithelium failed to expand as a result of defects in cell proliferation and differentiation. The number of multipotent pancreatic progenitors, including PDX1+ cells, was reduced in the Gata4/Gata6 mutant pancreatic epithelium. Remarkably, deletion of only 1 Gata6 allele on a Gata4 conditional knockout background severely reduced pancreatic mass. In contrast, a single WT allele of Gata4 in Gata6 conditional knockout mice was sufficient for normal pancreatic development, indicating differential contributions of GATA factors to pancreas formation. Our results place GATA factors at the top of the transcriptional network hierarchy controlling pancreas organogenesis.
Project description:Congenital heart disease is the most common type of birth defect with an incidence of 1%. Previously, we described a point mutation in GATA4 that segregated with cardiac defects in a family with autosomal dominant disease. The mutation (G296S) exhibited biochemical deficits and disrupted a novel interaction between Gata4 and Tbx5. To determine if Gata4 and Tbx5 genetically interact in vivo, we generated mice heterozygous for both alleles. We found that nearly 100% of mice heterozygous for Gata4 and Tbx5 were embryonic or neonatal lethal and had complete atrioventricular (AV) septal defects with a single AV valve and myocardial thinning. Consistent with this phenotype, Gata4 and Tbx5 are co-expressed in the developing endocardial cushions and myocardium. In mutant embryos, cardiomyocyte proliferation deficits were identified compatible with the myocardial hypoplasia. Similar to Gata4, Gata6 and Tbx5 are co-expressed in the embryonic heart, and the transcription factors synergistically activate the atrial natiuretic factor promoter. We demonstrate a genetic interaction between Gata6 and Tbx5 with an incompletely penetrant phenotype of neonatal lethality and thin myocardium. Gene expression analyses were performed on both sets of compound heterozygotes and demonstrated downregulation of alpha-myosin heavy chain only in Gata4/Tbx5 heterozygotes. These findings highlight the unique genetic interactions of Gata4 and Gata6 with Tbx5 for normal cardiac morphogenesis in vivo.
Project description:Studies of adult mice lacking either GATA4 or GATA6 in the small intestine demonstrate roles for these factors in small intestinal biology. Deletion of Gata4 in the adult mouse intestine revealed an essential role for GATA4 in jejunal function. Deletion of Gata6 in the adult mouse ileum alters epithelial cell types and ileal enterocyte gene expression. The effect of deletion of Gata4 or Gata6 alone during embryonic small intestinal development, however, has not been examined. We recently demonstrated that loss of both factors in double conditional knockout embryos causes severe defects in jejunal development. Therefore, the goal of this study is to provide phenotypic analysis of the small intestine of single Gata4 and Gata6 conditional knockout embryos.Villin-Cre was used to delete Gata4 or Gata6 in the developing intestinal epithelium. Elimination of either GATA4 or GATA6 in the jejunum, where these factors are co-expressed, caused changes in enterocyte and enteroendocrine cell gene expression. Ectopic expression of markers of the ileal-specific bile acid metabolism pathway was induced in GATA4-deficient jejunum but not in GATA6-deficient jejunum. A subtle increase in goblet cells was also identified in jejunum of both mutants. In GATA6-deficient embryonic ileum, villus length was altered, and enterocyte gene expression was perturbed including ectopic expression of the colon marker Car1. Goblet cells were increased, and enteroendocrine cells were decreased.Overall, we show that aspects of the phenotypes observed in the small intestine of adult Gata4 and Gata6 conditional knockout mice emerge during development. The effect of eliminating GATA6 from the developing ileum was greater than that of eliminating either GATA4 or GATA6 from the developing jejunum likely reflecting functional redundancy between these factors in the jejunum. Although GATA4 and GATA6 functions overlap, our data also suggest unique functions for GATA4 and GATA6 within the developing intestine. GATA4 likely operates independently of GATA6 within the jejunum to regulate jejunal versus ileal enterocyte identity and consequently jejunal physiology. GATA6 likely regulates enteroendocrine cell differentiation cell autonomously whereas GATA4 affects this population indirectly.
Project description:Gata4 and Gata6 are closely related transcription factors that are essential for the development of a number of embryonic tissues. While they have nearly identical DNA-binding domains and similar patterns of expression, Gata4 and Gata6 null embryos have strikingly different embryonic lethal phenotypes. To determine whether the lack of redundancy is due to differences in protein function or Gata4 and Gata6 expression domains, we generated mice that contained the Gata6 cDNA in place of the Gata4 genomic locus. Gata4(Gata6/Gata6) embryos survived through embryonic day (E)12.5 and successfully underwent ventral folding morphogenesis, demonstrating that Gata6 is able to replace Gata4 function in extraembryonic tissues. Surprisingly, Gata6 is unable to replace Gata4 function in the septum transversum mesenchyme or the epicardium, leading to liver agenesis and lethal heart defects in Gata4(Gata6/Gata6) embryos. These studies suggest that Gata4 has evolved distinct functions in the development of these tissues that cannot be performed by Gata6, even when it is provided in the identical expression domain. Our work has important implications for the respective mechanisms of Gata function during development, as well as the functional evolution of these essential transcription factors.
Project description:The intestinal epithelium performs vital roles in organ function by absorbing nutrients and providing a protective barrier. The zinc-finger containing transcription factors GATA4 and GATA6 regulate enterocyte gene expression and control regional epithelial cell identity in the adult intestinal epithelium. Although GATA4 and GATA6 are expressed in the developing intestine, loss of either factor alone during the period of epithelial morphogenesis and cytodifferentiation fails to disrupt these processes. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that GATA4 and GATA6 function redundantly to control these aspects of intestinal development. We used Villin-Cre, which deletes specifically in the intestinal epithelium during the period of villus development and epithelial cytodifferentiation, to generate Gata4Gata6 double conditional knockout embryos. Mice lacking GATA4 and GATA6 in the intestinal epithelium died within 24h of birth. At E18.5, intestinal villus architecture and epithelial cell populations were altered. Enterocytes were lost, and goblet cells were increased. Proliferation was also increased in GATA4-GATA6 deficient intestinal epithelium. Although villus morphology appeared normal at E16.5, the first time at which both Gata4 and Gata6 were efficiently reduced, changes in expression of markers of enterocytes, goblet cells, and proliferative cells were detected. Moreover, goblet cell number was increased at E16.5. Expression of the Notch ligand Dll1 and the Notch target Olfm4 were reduced in mutant tissue indicating decreased Notch signaling. Finally, we found that GATA4 occupies chromatin near the Dll1 transcription start site suggesting direct regulation of Dll1 by GATA4. We demonstrate that GATA4 and GATA6 play an essential role in maintaining proper intestinal epithelial structure and in regulating intestinal epithelial cytodifferentiation. Our data highlight a novel role for GATA factors in fine tuning Notch signaling during intestinal epithelial development to repress goblet cell differentiation.
Project description:The adrenal glands consist of an outer cortex and an inner medulla, and their primary purposes include hormone synthesis and secretion. The adrenal cortex produces a complex array of steroid hormones, whereas the medulla is part of the sympathetic nervous system and produces the catecholamines epinephrine and norepinephrine. In the mouse, GATA binding protein (GATA) 4 and GATA6 transcription factors are coexpressed in several embryonic tissues, including the adrenal cortex. To explore the roles of GATA4 and GATA6 in mouse adrenal development, we conditionally deleted these genes in adrenocortical cells using the Sf1Cre strain of animals. We report here that mice with Sf1Cre-mediated double deletion of Gata4 and Gata6 genes lack identifiable adrenal glands, steroidogenic factor 1-positive cortical cells and steroidogenic gene expression in the adrenal location. The inactivation of the Gata6 gene alone (Sf1Cre;Gata6(flox/flox)) drastically reduced the adrenal size and corticosterone production in the adult animals. Adrenocortical aplasia is expected to result in the demise of the animal within 2 weeks after birth unless glucocorticoids are provided. In accordance, Sf1Cre;Gata4(flox/flox)Gata6(flox/flox) females depend on steroid supplementation to survive after weaning. Surprisingly, Sf1Cre;Gata4(flox/flox)Gata6(flox/flox) males appear to live normal lifespans as vital steroidogenic synthesis shifts to their testes. Our results reveal a requirement for GATA factors in adrenal development and provide a novel tool to characterize the transcriptional network controlling adrenocortical cell fates.
Project description:The derivation of the primitive endoderm layer from the pluripotent cells of the inner cell mass is one of the earliest differentiation and morphogenic events in embryonic development. GATA4 and GATA6 are the key transcription factors in the formation of extraembryonic endoderms, but their specific contribution to the derivation of each endoderm lineage needs clarification. We further analyzed the dynamic expression and mutant phenotypes of GATA6 in early mouse embryos. GATA6 and GATA4 are both expressed in primitive endoderm cells initially. At embryonic day (E) 5.0, parietal endoderm cells continue to express both GATA4 and GATA6; however, visceral endoderm cells express GATA4 but exhibit a reduced expression of GATA6. By and after E5.5, visceral endoderm cells no longer express GATA6. We also found that GATA6 null embryos did not form a morphologically recognizable primitive endoderm layer, and subsequently failed to form visceral and parietal endoderms. Thus, the current study establishes that GATA6 is essential for the formation of primitive endoderm, at a much earlier stage then previously recognized, and expression of GATA6 discriminates parietal endoderm from visceral endoderm lineages.
Project description:Mutations of Fog2 in mice result in a phenotype that includes pulmonary lobar defects. To determine whether formation of the accessory lobe bronchus is mediated by a Gata family cofactor, we evaluated embryonic lungs from mice carrying missense mutations that cause loss of FOG-GATA protein interaction. Lungs from embryos carrying a missense mutation in Gata6 were structurally normal, while lungs from embryos carrying mutations of either Gata4 or of both Gata4 and Gata6 had a structural phenotype that matched the Fog2 mutant phenotype. Expression analysis showed that Gata4 and Fog2 are expressed in the ventral and medial pulmonary mesenchyme during secondary budding. Although Gata4 has not previously been suspected as playing a role in lung development, we have found that a Fog2-Gata4 interaction is critical for the development of normal pulmonary lobar structure, and this phenotype is not influenced by the additional loss of Gata6 interaction. Fog2 and Gata4 in the early pulmonary mesenchyme participate in patterning the secondary bronchus of the accessory lobe.
Project description:Pancreatic agenesis is a human disorder caused by defects in pancreas development. To date, only a few genes have been linked to pancreatic agenesis in humans, with mutations in pancreatic and duodenal homeobox 1 (PDX1) and pancreas-specific transcription factor 1a (PTF1A) reported in only 5 families with described cases. Recently, mutations in GATA6 have been identified in a large percentage of human cases, and a GATA4 mutant allele has been implicated in a single case. In the mouse, Gata4 and Gata6 are expressed in several endoderm-derived tissues, including the pancreas. To analyze the functions of GATA4 and/or GATA6 during mouse pancreatic development, we generated pancreas-specific deletions of Gata4 and Gata6. Surprisingly, loss of either Gata4 or Gata6 in the pancreas resulted in only mild pancreatic defects, which resolved postnatally. However, simultaneous deletion of both Gata4 and Gata6 in the pancreas caused severe pancreatic agenesis due to disruption of pancreatic progenitor cell proliferation, defects in branching morphogenesis, and a subsequent failure to induce the differentiation of progenitor cells expressing carboxypeptidase A1 (CPA1) and neurogenin 3 (NEUROG3). These studies address the conserved and nonconserved mechanisms underlying GATA4 and GATA6 function during pancreas development and provide a new mouse model to characterize the underlying developmental defects associated with pancreatic agenesis.
Project description:Gata4, Gata5, and Gata6 represent a subfamily of zinc-finger transcriptional regulators that are important in the development and differentiation of numerous tissues, including many endodermally-derived organs. We demonstrate that Gata4 and Gata6 have overlapping expression patterns in the early pancreatic epithelium. Later, Gata4 becomes restricted to exocrine tissue and Gata6 becomes restricted to a subset of endocrine cells. In addition, we show Gata6, but not Gata4, physically interacts with Nkx2.2, an essential islet transcription factor. To begin determining the roles that Gata4 and Gata6 play during pancreatic development, we expressed Gata4-Engrailed and Gata6-Engrailed dominant repressor fusion proteins in the pancreatic epithelium and in the islet. At e17.5, transgenic Gata6-Engrailed embryos exhibit two distinct phenotypes: a complete absence of pancreas or a reduction in pancreatic tissue. In the embryos that do form pancreas, there is a significant reduction of all pancreatic cell types, with the few differentiated endocrine cells clustered within, or in close proximity to, enlarged ductal structures. Conversely, the majority of transgenic Gata4-Engrailed embryos do not have a pancreatic phenotype. This study suggests that Gata6 is an important regulator of pancreas specification.