Unique functions of Gata4 in mouse liver induction and heart development.
ABSTRACT: 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 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: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: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, 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.
Project description:The role of GATA4 during the earliest stages of cardiogenesis has not been defined because Gata4 knockout embryos suffer an early developmental arrest caused by deficiencies in extraembryonic visceral endoderm function. We have used tetraploid embryo complementation to rescue these defects and generated clonal embryonic day 9.5 Gata4(-/-) embryos directly from embryonic stem cells. GATA4-null embryos display heart defects characterized by disrupted looping morphogenesis, septation, and a hypoplastic ventricular myocardium. We find that myocardial gene expression is relatively normal in GATA4-null hearts including expression of GATA6. Moreover, GATA4 expression in the endocardium is dispensable for trabeculae formation. Remarkably, the proepicardium is absent in GATA4-null embryos, blocking formation of the epicardium. Therefore, we propose that the observed myocardial defects may be a secondary consequence of loss of the proepicardium. These findings definitively demonstrate a requirement for GATA4 during early cardiac development and identify an essential factor for generation of the proepicardium.
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:SUMO-specific protease 2 (SENP2) has a broad de-SUMOylation activity in vitro. However, the biological function of SENP2 is largely unknown. Here, we show that deletion of SENP2 gene in mouse causes defects in the embryonic heart and reduces the expression of Gata4 and Gata6, which are essential for cardiac development. SENP2 regulates transcription of Gata4 and Gata6 mainly through alteration of occupancy of Pc2/CBX4, a polycomb repressive complex 1 (PRC1) subunit, on its promoters. We demonstrate that Pc2/CBX4 is a target of SENP2 in vivo and that SUMOylation is essential for Pc2/CBX4-mediated PRC1 recruitment to methylated histone 3 at K27 (H3K27me3). In SENP2 null embryos, SUMOylated Pc2/CBX4 accumulates and Pc2/CBX4 occupancy on the promoters of PcG target genes is markedly increased, leading to repression of Gata4 and Gata6 transcription. Our results reveal a critical role for de-SUMOylation in the regulation of PcG target gene expression.
Project description:GATA transcription factors and their Friend of Gata (FOG) cofactors control the development of diverse tissues. GATA4 and GATA6 are essential for the expansion of the embryonic liver bud, but their expression patterns and functions in the adult liver are unclear. We characterized the expression of GATA and FOG factors in whole mouse liver and purified hepatocytes. GATA4, GATA6, and FOG1 are the most prominently expressed family members in whole liver and hepatocytes. GATA4 chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by high throughput sequencing (ChIP-seq) identified 4409 occupied sites, associated with genes enriched in ontologies related to liver function, including lipid and glucose metabolism. However, hepatocyte-specific excision of Gata4 had little impact on gross liver architecture and function, even under conditions of regenerative stress, and, despite the large number of GATA4 occupied genes, resulted in relatively few changes in gene expression. To address possible redundancy between GATA4 and GATA6, both factors were conditionally excised. Surprisingly, combined Gata4,6 loss did not exacerbate the phenotype resulting from Gata4 loss alone. This points to the presence of an unusually robust transcriptional network in adult hepatocytes that ensures the maintenance of liver function.
Project description:GATA transcription factors regulate proliferation, differentiation, and gene expression in multiple organs. GATA4 is expressed in the proximal 85% of the small intestine and regulates the jejunal-ileal gradient in absorptive enterocyte gene expression. GATA6 is co-expressed with GATA4 but also is expressed in the ileum; its function in the mature small intestine is unknown.We investigated the function of GATA6 in small intestine using adult mice with conditional, inducible deletion of Gata6, or Gata6 and Gata4, specifically in the intestine.In ileum, deletion of Gata6 caused a decrease in crypt cell proliferation and numbers of enteroendocrine and Paneth cells, an increase in numbers of goblet-like cells in crypts, and altered expression of genes specific to absorptive enterocytes. In contrast to ileum, deletion of Gata6 caused an increase in numbers of Paneth cells in jejunum and ileum. Deletion of Gata6 and Gata4 resulted in a jejunal and duodenal phenotype that was nearly identical to that in the ileum after deletion of Gata6 alone, revealing common functions for GATA6 and GATA4.GATA transcription factors are required for crypt cell proliferation, secretory cell differentiation, and absorptive enterocyte gene expression in the small intestinal epithelium.