Identification of Novel Gata3 Distal Enhancers Active in Mouse Embryonic Lens

Elena Martynova, Maxime Bouchard, Linda S. Musil, Ales Cvekl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: The tissue-specific transcriptional programs during normal development require tight control by distal cis-regulatory elements, such as enhancers, with specific DNA sequences recognized by transcription factors, coactivators, and chromatin remodeling enzymes. Gata3 is a sequence-specific DNA-binding transcription factor that regulates formation of multiple tissues and organs, including inner ear, lens, mammary gland, T-cells, urogenital system, and thyroid gland. In the eye, Gata3 has a highly restricted expression domain in the posterior part of the lens vesicle; however, the underlying regulatory mechanisms are unknown. Results: Here we describe the identification of a novel bipartite Gata3 lens-specific enhancer located ∼18 kb upstream from its transcriptional start site. We also found that a 5-kb Gata3 promoter possesses low activity in the lens. The bipartite enhancer contains arrays of AP-1, Ets-, and Smad1/5-binding sites as well as binding sites for lens-associated DNA-binding factors. Transient transfection studies of the promoter with the bipartite enhancer showed enhanced activation by BMP4 and FGF2. Conclusions: These studies identify a novel distal enhancer of Gata3 with high activity in lens and indicate that BMP and FGF signaling can up-regulate expression of Gata3 in differentiating lens fiber cells through the identified Gata3 enhancer and promoter elements. Developmental Dynamics 247:1186–1198, 2018.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1186-1198
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental Dynamics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • BMP signaling
  • FGF signaling
  • enhancer
  • lens
  • promoter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology


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