Detailed analysis of the δ-crystallin mRNA-expressing region in early development of the chick pituitary gland

J Mol Histol. 2012 Jun;43(3):273-80. doi: 10.1007/s10735-012-9407-1. Epub 2012 Mar 30.


Although δ-crystallin (δ-crys), also known as lens protein, is transiently expressed in Rathke's pouch (RP) of the chick embryo, detailed temporal and spatial expression patterns have been obscure. In this study, to understand the relationship between the δ-crys mRNA-expressing region and RP formation, we examined the embryonic expression pattern of δ-crys mRNA in the primordium of the adenohypophysis. δ-crys mRNA expression was initially found at stage 15 anterior to the foregut and posterior to the invaginated oral ectoderm. After RP formation, the δ-crys mRNA was expressed in the post-ventral region of RP and the anterior region of RP. δ-crys mRNA expression was then restricted to the cephalic lobe of the pituitary gland. From stage 20, the δ-crys and alpha-glycoprotein subunit (αGSU) mRNA-expressing regions were almost completely overlapping. The αGSU mRNA-expressing region is thought to be the primordium of the pars tuberalis, and these regions were overlapped with the Lhx3 mRNA-expressing region. The intensity of δ-crys mRNA expression gradually decreased with development and completely disappeared by stage 34. These results suggest that the embryonic chick pituitary gland consists of two different regions labeled with δ-crys and Lhx3.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Avian Proteins / genetics*
  • Avian Proteins / metabolism
  • Chick Embryo
  • Ectoderm / embryology
  • Ectoderm / growth & development
  • Ectoderm / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • LIM-Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • LIM-Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism
  • Pituitary Gland / embryology
  • Pituitary Gland / growth & development
  • Pituitary Gland / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Time Factors
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • delta-Crystallins / genetics*
  • delta-Crystallins / metabolism


  • Avian Proteins
  • LIM-Homeodomain Proteins
  • Lhx3 protein
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Transcription Factors
  • delta-Crystallins