Germ-line mutations of LKB1 and PTEN tumor suppressor genes underlie the phenotypically related Peutz-Jeghers syndrome (PJS) and Cowden disease (CD), respectively. To analyze possible developmental roles of PTEN and LKB1, we have studied their mRNA expression during mouse embryonic development (E7-17.5) by in situ hybridization. Ubiquitous expression of both genes during early stages (E7-11) became more restricted in later embryonic development (E15-19) where LKB1 and PTEN showed prominent overlapping expression in e.g. gastrointestinal tract and lung. In contrast, LKB1 was selectively expressed at high levels in testis and PTEN was prominently expressed in skin epithelium and underlying mesenchyme. These results indicate that LKB1 and PTEN display largely overlapping expression patterns during embryonic development. Moreover, a high expression of these genes was observed in the tissues and organs affected in PJS and CD patients and in PTEN+/- mice.
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