Mist1 is a basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor that represses E-box-mediated transcription. Previous studies have suggested that the Mist1 gene is expressed in a wide range of tissues, although a complete characterization of Mist1 protein accumulation in the adult organism has not been described. In an effort to identify specific cell types that contain the Mist1 protein, antibodies specific for Mist1 were generated and used in Western blot and immunohistochemical assays. Our studies show that the Mist1 protein is present in many different tissues but that it is restricted to cell types that are exclusively secretory in nature. Pancreatic acinar cells, serous or seromucous cells of the salivary glands, chief cells of the stomach, and secretory cells of the prostate and seminal vesicle show high levels of Mist1 protein, whereas nonserous exocrine cells, including the mucus-producing cells of the salivary glands, remain Mist1 negative. These results identify Mist1 as the first transcription factor that exhibits this unique serous-specific expression pattern and suggest that Mist1 may have a key role in establishing and maintaining a pathway responsible for the exocytosis of serous secretions.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.