Background: Mammalian lung development consists of a series of precisely choreographed events that drive the progression from simple lung buds to the elaborately branched organ that fulfills the vital function of gas exchange. Strict transcriptional control is essential for lung development. Among the large number of transcription factors encoded in the mouse genome, only a small portion of them are known to be expressed and function in the developing lung. Thus a systematic investigation of transcription factors expressed in the lung is warranted.
Results: To enrich for genes that may be responsible for regional growth and patterning, we performed a screen using RNA in situ hybridization to identify genes that show restricted expression patterns in the embryonic lung. We focused on the pseudoglandular stage during which the lung undergoes branching morphogenesis, a cardinal event of lung development. Using a genome-scale probe set that represents over 90% of the transcription factors encoded in the mouse genome, we identified 62 transcription factor genes with localized expression in the epithelium, mesenchyme, or both. Many of these genes have not been previously implicated in lung development.
Conclusions: Our findings provide new starting points for the elucidation of the transcriptional circuitry that controls lung development.
Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.