We previously demonstrated that the zinc finger transcription factors GATA-2 and GATA-3 are expressed in trophoblast giant cells and that they regulate transcription from the mouse placental lactogen I gene promoter in a transfected trophoblast cell line. We present evidence here that both of these factors regulate transcription of the placental lactogen I gene, as well as the related proliferin gene, in trophoblast giant cells in vivo. Placentas lacking GATA-3 accumulate placental lactogen I and proliferin mRNAs to a level 50% below that reached in the wild-type placenta. Mutation of the GATA-2 gene had a similar effect on placental lactogen I expression, but led to a markedly greater reduction (5- to 6-fold) in proliferin gene expression. Placentas lacking GATA-2 secrete significantly less angiogenic activity than wild-type placentas as measured in an endothelial cell migration assay, consistent with a reduction in expression of the angiogenic hormone proliferin. Furthermore, within the same uterus the decidual tissue adjacent to mutant placentas displays markedly reduced neovascularization compared to the decidual tissue next to wild-type placentas. These results indicate that GATA-2 and GATA-3 are important in vivo regulators of trophoblast-specific gene expression and placental function, and reveal a difference in the effect of these two factors in regulating the synthesis of related placental hormones.
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.