An Otx-related homeodomain protein binds an LH beta promoter element important for activation during gonadotrope maturation
Molecular Endocrinology, 16(6), pp 1280-1298, 2002-6
The hormone-secreting cell types of the anterior pituitary differentiate in a specific spatial and temporal manner. The alpha-subunit of the glycoprotein hormones appears at embryonic d 11.5 in the mouse, followed by steroidogenic factor-1, which distinguishes the gonadotrope progenitor cells, around embryonic d 14. Gonadotrope maturation is marked by the onset of LHbeta-gene expression 2 d later. The alphaT3-1 and LbetaT2 immortalized mouse pituitary cell lines correspond to these later sequential stages of gonadotrope differentiation. In addition to the early markers of the gonadotrope lineage present in alphaT3-1 cells, LbetaT2 cells also express markers of a mature gonadotrope, including LHbeta and FSHbeta. Using transient transfections to compare expression among gonadotrope and non-gonadotrope-derived cell types, we show that the rat 1.8-kb LHbeta promoter directs reporter gene expression specifically to the mature gonadotrope LbetaT2 cell line. Promoter truncation and mutagenesis analyses indicate that the homeodomain (HD) element located at approximately -100 bp relative to the transcriptional start site is essential for this selectivity to LbetaT2 cells when compared with alphaT3-1 cells. In EMSAs, this HD site binds a protein present in LbetaT2 but not other gonadotrope-derived cells. Antibody supershift and competition experiments indicate that this LbetaT2 nuclear protein is a K50 HD protein related to the Otx family, though it is not a known pituitary homeobox transcription factor protein. These studies indicate a role for a novel Otx-related HD protein in gonadotrope maturation during development.