ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-961104-2
An activation domain of the helix-loop-helix transcription factor E2A shows cell type preference in vivo in microinjected zebrafish embryos
Argenton, F., Arava, Y., Aronheim, A., and Walker, M.D.
Date: 1996
Source: Molecular and cellular biology   16(4): 1714-1721 (Journal)
Registered Authors: Argenton, Francesco, Walker, Michael D.
Keywords: none
MeSH Terms:
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA-Binding Proteins/genetics*
  • Gene Expression
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Helix-Loop-Helix Motifs*
  • Microinjections
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plasmids
  • TCF Transcription Factors
  • Transcription Factor 7-Like 1 Protein
  • Transcription Factors*
  • Transfection
  • Zebrafish
  • beta-Galactosidase/genetics
PubMed: 8657147
The E2A protein is a mammalian transcription factor of the helix-loop-helix family which is implicated in cell-specific gene expression in several cell lineages. Mouse E2A contains two independent transcription activation domains, ADI and ADII; whereas ADI functions effectively in a variety of cultured cell lines, ADII shows preferential activity in pancreatic beta cells. To analyze this preferential activity in an in vivo setting, we adapted a system involving transient gene expression in microinjected zebra fish embryos. Fertilized one- to four-cell embryos were coinjected with an expression plasmid and a reporter plasmid. The expression plasmids used encode the yeast Gal4 DNA-binding domain (DBD) alone, or Gal4 DBD fused to ADI, ADII, or VP16. The reporter plasmid includes the luciferase gene linked to a promoter containing repeats of UASg, the Gal4-binding site. Embryo extracts prepared 24 h after injection showed significant luciferase activity in response to each of the three activation domains. To determine the cell types in which the activation domains were functioning, a reporter plasmid encoding beta-galactosidase and then in situ staining of whole embryos were used. Expression of ADI led to activation in all major groups of cell types of the embryo (skin, sclerotome, myotome, notochord, and nervous system). On the other hand, ADII led to negligible expression in the sclerotome, notochord, and nervous system and much more frequent expression in the myotome. Parallel experiments conducted with transfected mammalian cells have confirmed that ADII shows significant activity in myoblast cells but little or no activity in neuronal precursor cells, consistent with our observations in zebra fish. This transient-expression approach permits rapid in vivo analysis of the properties of transcription activation domains: the data show that ADII functions preferentially in cells of muscle lineage, consistent with the notion that certain activation domains contribute to selective gene activation in vivo.