In mammals, the COUP-TF-family consisting of two structurally related proteins, COUP-TFI and COUP-TFII belongs to the orphan member of the steroid/thyroid hormone receptor superfamily. In an attempt to gain insights into the role of COUP-TFII, we examined developmental expression pattern of the mouse COUP-TFII focusing our studies on endoderm-derived tissues, pancreas and liver in particular. Independent lines of transgenic mice expressing Escherichia coli beta-galactosidase driven by the COUP-TFII promoter were generated. Embryonic expression of the beta-gal protein at day 9 of gestation was detected in the notochord, the ventral neural tube and, interestingly, in the gut endoderm, a site where COUP-TFII has not been detected previously. Between 9.5 and 11.5 dpc, beta-gal expression pattern that was established earlier persisted and sections revealed a staining of the common atrial chamber of the heart. At 15.5 dpc, beta-gal activity was found in all endoderm-derived tissues. We found that COUP-TFII mRNA and protein were present in fetal and adult hepatocytes. Finally, COUP-TFII expression was detected in pancreas, as judged by co-expression of the beta-gal in some of the glucagon and PDX1 positive-cells at 12.5 dpc and co-expression with insulin positive-cells at 15.5 dpc. In adult pancreas, COUP-TFII protein was present in the endocrine islet cells.
Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.