We have analysed the expression patterns of all the known fos/jun family genes, which encode the components of the transcription factor AP-1, in the chicken embryonic digestive tract that develops into the esophagus, proventriculus, gizzard, small intestine, ceca and large intestine. From soon after formation of the tubular structure, each gene transcript was localized in distinct domains of the epithelium and mesenchyme in all of these major gastrointestinal organs, independently of the anterior-posterior axis, fra-2 was expressed predominantly in epithelium, which also expressed junD, while low-level expression of junD was also detected in smooth muscle cell precursors in mesenchyme. Expression of c-jun and c-fos was detectable in both mesenchyme and epithelium through the whole tract. In the differentiated proventriculus, the developed glandular epithelium expressed c-jun and junD, but not fra-2, while luminal epithelium expressed fra-2 and junD, but not c-jun. These results suggest that distinct Fos/Jun protein heterodimers play important roles in maintaining the epithelial-mesenchymal interactions. Similar expression patterns to those of fra-2 and junD were established from earlier stages by Sonic hedgehog gene and the Indian hedgehog gene, respectively, both of which are important in forming the inductive network between epithelium and mesenchyme of the digestive tract.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cancer Research