ESPE Abstracts (2014) 82 S9.3

Pax7 Dictates Alternate Pituitary Cell Fates During Development

Jacques Drouin


Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada


Background: Pituitary gland development is a well conserved process that starts with formation of Rathke’s pouch and specification of the primitive intermediate and anterior pituitary tissues. This early developmental sequence is conserved in humans compared to other mammals despite the fact that the human intermediate pituitary regresses during early gestation.

Objective and hypotheses: We have identified the transcription factor Pax7 as key regulator for specification of intermediate lobe identity in different species and we showed that Pax7 dictates the alternate cell fates of the two POMC-expressing lineages, the corticotropes and melanotropes, through its pioneer transcription factor activity (Budry et al. The selector gene Pax7 dictates alternate pituitary cell fates through its pioneer action on chromatin remodeling. Genes and Dev. 2012, 26:2299–2310).

Results: Pioneer transcription factors have the unique ability to remodel chromatin and change genome accessibility. For pituitary POMC-expressing cells, remodeling of chromatin by Pax7 changes the outcome of Tpit-driven differentiation to dictate the melanotrope instead of corticotrope fate. This presentation will emphasize recent findings on developmental mechanisms and their implications for pituitary pathogenesis.

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