Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : Hepatocyte nuclear factor 6 (HNF-6) is the prototype of a family of tissue-specific transcription factors characterized by a bipartite DNA-binding domain consisting of a single cut domain and a novel type of homeodomain. We have previously cloned rat cDNA species coding for two isoforms, HNF-6alpha (465 residues) and beta (491 residues), which differ only by the length of the spacer between the two DNA-binding domains. We have now localized the rat Hnf6 gene to chromosome 8q24-q31 by Southern blotting of DNA from somatic cell hybrids and by fluorescence in situ hybridization. Cloning and sequencing of the rat gene showed that the two HNF-6 isoforms are generated by alternative splicing of three exons that are more than 10 kb apart from each other. Exon 1 codes for the N-terminal part and the cut domain, exon 2 codes for the 26 HNF-6beta-specific amino acids, and exon 3 codes for the homeodomain and the C-terminal amino acids. The transcription initiation site was mapped by ribonuclease protection and 5' rapid amplification of cDNA ends. Transfection experiments showed that promoter activity was contained within 0.75 kb upstream of the transcription initiation site. This activity was detected by the transfection of liver-derived HepG2 cells, but not of Rat-1 fibroblasts, suggesting that the promoter is sufficient to confer liver-specific expression.