Transcriptomic analysis and novel insights into lens fibre cell differentiation regulated by Gata3

Elena Martynova, Yilin Zhao, Qing Xie, Deyou Zheng, Ales Cvekl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Gata3 is a DNA-binding transcription factor involved in cellular differentiation in a variety of tissues including inner ear, hair follicle, kidney, mammary gland and T-cells. In a previous study in 2009, Maeda et al. (Dev. Dyn. 238, 2280-2291; doi:10.1002/dvdy.22035) found that Gata3 mutants could be rescued from midgestational lethality by the expression of a Gata3 transgene in sympathoadrenal neuroendocrine cells. The rescued embryos clearly showed multiple defects in lens fibre cell differentiation. To determine whether these defects were truly due to the loss of Gata3 expression in the lens, we generated a lens-specific Gata3 loss-of-function model. Analogous to the previous findings, our Gata3 null embryos showed abnormal regulation of cell cycle exit during lens fibre cell differentiation, marked by reduction in the expression of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors Cdkn1b/p27 and Cdkn1c/p57, and the retention of nuclei accompanied by downregulation of Dnase IIβ. Comparisons of transcriptomes between control and mutated lenses by RNA-Seq revealed dysregulation of lens-specific crystallin genes and intermediate filament protein Bfsp2. Both Cdkn1b/p27 and Cdkn1c/p57 loci are occupied in vivo by Gata3, as well as Prox1 and c-Jun, in lens chromatin. Collectively, our studies suggest that Gata3 regulates lens differentiation through the direct regulation of the Cdkn1b/p27and Cdkn1c/p57 expression, and the direct/or indirect transcriptional control of Bfsp2 and Dnase IIβ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number190220
JournalOpen Biology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • Cdkn1b/p27
  • Cdkn1c/p57
  • Differentiation
  • Gata3
  • Lens
  • Prox1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Immunology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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