A fundamental aspect of the development of complex organ systems is a requirement for precise temporal and spatial coordination in the genesis of tissues of distinct embryonic origins, in order to form functional units required for physiological homeostasis and survival. Such a requirement is particularly well exemplified in mammalian development in the formation of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis. Neuronally expressed POU domain factors might exert effects on terminal differentiation events similar to those of Pit-1 in the maturation of anterior pituitary gland cell phenotypes. Neurons comprising the endocrine hypothalamus develop in tandem with their ultimate target, the pituitary gland, and arise from a primordium in which three related class III POU domain factors - Brn-2, Brn-4, and Brn-1 - are initially co-expressed These factors subsequently exhibit stratified patterns of ontogenic expression, correlating with the appearance of distinct neuropeptides that define three major endocrine hypothalamic cell types. Deletion of the Brn-2 genomic locus affects terminal differentiation and/or maintenance of hypothalamic neurosecretory neurons and development of the posterior pituitary gland. Thus, both neuronal and endocrine components of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis are critically dependent upon the action of specific POU domain factors at a penultimate step in the sequential events that underlie the appearance of mature cellular phenotypes.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||22|
|Journal||Recent Progress in Hormone Research|
|State||Published - Dec 1 1996|
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