02 October 2003
During early mouse embryogenesis, Pitx1 (pituitary homeobox 1), a member of the bicoid subgroup of paired homeobox-containing transcription factors, marks the stomodeum, oral ectoderm, pituitary and first branchial arch in the anterior part of the embryo and lateral plate mesoderm only in the posterior half of the embryo. We have now defined Pitx1 promoter fragments that mimic the anterior but not posterior expression of Pitx1 in transgenic mice. In addition, we show positive regulation of this promoter in transfection studies by three members of the Pitx1 family (Pitx1, Pitx1b, Pitx2), as well as by a related factor, Otx1. Pitx1 autoregulation depends on DNA-binding and trans-activation domains of Pitx1 and it may be responsible for establishment and/or maintenance of the Pitx1 expression domain.