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Developmental Immunology
Volume 3 (1992), Issue 1, Pages 1-11

Expression of GATA-3 During Lymphocyte Differentiation and Mouse Embryogenesis

1Department of Immunology, University Hospital, Utrecht, The Netherlands
2Departments of Medicine and Pathology, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Accepted 19 July 1992

Copyright © 1992 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The GATA family of C4 zinc-finger transcription factors has been implicated in tissuespecific gene regulation in birds and mammals. One of the members of this family, GATA-3, is reportedly expressed specifically in the T-cell lineage, where it interacts with GATA motifs in the TCR-αα, TCR-β/, and TCR-δ enhancers, thereby controlling the T-cell phenotype. To evaluate the differentiation control properties of GATA-3, we have now documented its expression pattern during lymphoid differentiation and murine embryogenesis.

The onset of GATA-3 expression in the lymphoid lineage was studied in a panel of lymphoid (precursor) cell lines by Northern blot analysis. GATA-3 was uniquely expressed in T-lineage lymphocytes expressing TCR and CD3 genes; it was absent from TCR/CD3 mRNA-negative prothymocytes and from all B-lineage cells.

In order to obtain information on the expression of GATA-3 outside the immune system, in situ hybridization was performed on mouse embryos on day 11.5-14.5 of gestation. GATA-3 mRNA was detected in fetal thymus and in erythroid cells. Outside the haemopoietic system, we detected GATA-3 mRNA throughout the central nervous system, in kidney, in the epidermis, lens fibers, the inner ear, whisker follicles, and in the primary palate.

These data provide new clues about the potential role of GATA-3 during mouse development, and will aid the interpretation of currently ongoing gene knockout experiments.