Characterization and expression of C/EPB-like genes in the liver of Rana catesbeiana tadpoles during spontaneous and thyroid hormone-induced metamorphosis.Dev Genet. 1994; 15(4):366-77.DG
Tissue-specific changes in gene expression occur in the liver of Rana catesbeiana tadpoles undergoing metamorphosis. Many of these changes can be induced precociously by administration of thyroid hormone (TH) to a tadpole or to cultured tadpole liver. While the precise molecular means by which TH exerts a tissue-specific response is unknown, recent studies suggest that the expression of genes which are liver-specific and characteristic of the adult liver phenotype may rely on TH-induction of tissue-specific transcription factors, as well as the thyroid hormone receptor proteins. Guided by this notion, we screened our Rana catesbeiana liver cDNA library and isolated clones, RcC/EBP-1 and -2, encoding Rana homologues of a mammalian transcription factor, C/EBP (CCAAT/enhancer core binding protein), implicated in the expression of liver-specific genes and terminal differentiation of hepatocytes. Gel mobility shift assays demonstrate that the proteins synthesized from these cDNAs bind specifically to the consensus binding site for C/EBP-related proteins. Characterization of the amino acid sequence in the bZIP DNA-binding domains of these proteins suggests that RcC/EBP-1 and -2 encode Rana homologues of C/EBP alpha and delta, respectively. Hybridization analyses demonstrate that the amount of RcC/EBP-2 mRNAs in tadpole liver remains constant throughout metamorphosis, whereas RcC/EBP-1 mRNAs are up-regulated during both spontaneous and TH-induced metamorphosis. The TH-induced up-regulation of RcC/EBP-1 mRNAs precedes the up-regulation of liver-specific urea cycle enzyme mRNAs by 6 to 12 hours. These results, coupled with in situ hybridization studies, suggest that RcC/EBP-1 mRNAs encode a transcription factor which may play an early role(s) in the terminal differentiation and/or reprogramming of gene expression in this tadpole's liver cells during both spontaneous and TH-induced metamorphosis.