We describe the embryonic expression pattern as well as the cloning and initial transcriptional regulatory analysis of the murine (m) GATA-3 gene. In situ hybridization shows that mGATA-3 mRNA accumulation is temporally and spatially regulated during early development: although found most abundantly in the placenta prior to 10 days of embryogenesis, mGATA-3 expression becomes restricted to specific cells within the embryonic central nervous system (in the mesencephalon, diencephalon, pons and inner ear) later in gestation. GATA-3 also shows a restricted expression pattern in the peripheral nervous system, including terminally differentiating cells in the cranial and sympathetic ganglia. In addition to this distinct pattern in the nervous system, mGATA-3 is also expressed in the embryonic kidney and the thymic rudiment, and further analysis showed that it is expressed throughout T lymphocyte differentiation. To begin to investigate how this complex gene expression pattern is elicited, cloning and transcriptional regulatory analyses of the mGATA-3 gene were initiated. At least two regulatory elements (one positive and one negative) appear to be required for appropriate tissue-restricted regulation after transfection of mGATA-3-directed reporter genes into cells that naturally express GATA-3 (T lymphocytes and neuroblastoma cells). Furthermore, this same region of the locus confers developmentally appropriate expression in transgenic mice, but only in a subset of the tissues that naturally express the gene.

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