The homebox gene Hlxb9, encoding Hb9, exhibits a dual expression profile during pancreatic development. The early expression in the dorsal and ventral pancreatic epithelium is transient and spans from embryonic day (e) 8 to e9-e10, whereas the later expression is confined to differentiating beta-cells as they appear. We previously showed that Hlxb9 is critically required for the initiation of the dorsal, but not the ventral, pancreatic program. Here, we demonstrate the requirement for a stringent temporal regulation of Hlxb9 expression during early stages of pancreatic development. In transgenic mice, where Hlxb9 expression, under control of the Ipf1/Pdx1 promoter, was extended beyond e9-e10, the development of the pancreas was drastically perturbed. Morphological analyses showed that the growth and morphogenesis of the pancreatic epithelium was impaired. Moreover, differentiation of pancreatic endocrine and exocrine cells was diminished and instead the pancreatic epithelium with its adjacent mesenchyme adopted an intestinal-like differentiation program. Together, these data point to a need for a tight temporal regulation of Hlxb9 expression. Thus, a total loss of Hlxb9 expression results in a block of the initiation of the dorsal pancreatic program, while a temporally extended expression of Hlxb9 results in a complete impairment of pancreatic development.
(c) 2001 Elsevier Science.