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      A tissue-specific transcription factor containing a homeodomain specifies a pituitary phenotype

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          Abstract

          Multiple related cis-active elements required for cell-specific activation of the rat prolactin gene appear to bind a pituitary-specific positive transcription factor(s), referred to as Pit-1. DNA complementary to Pit-1 mRNA, cloned on the basis of specific binding to AT-rich cell-specific elements in the rat prolactin and growth hormone genes, encodes a 33 kd protein with significant similarity at its carboxyl terminus to the homeodomains encoded by Drosophila developmental genes. Pit-1 mRNA is expressed exclusively in the anterior pituitary gland in both somatotroph and lactotroph cell types, which produce growth hormone and prolactin, respectively. Pit-1 expression in heterologous cells (HeLa) selectively activates prolactin and growth hormone fusion gene expression, suggesting that Pit-1 is sufficient to confer a characteristic pituitary phenotype. The structure of Pit-1 and its recognition elements suggests that metazoan tissue phenotype is controlled by a family of transcription factors that bind to related cis-active elements and contain several highly conserved domains.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Cell
          Cell
          Elsevier BV
          00928674
          November 1988
          November 1988
          : 55
          : 3
          : 519-529
          Article
          10.1016/0092-8674(88)90038-4
          2902928
          © 1988

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