WNT4 is a critical signalling molecule in embryogenesis and homeostasis, but the elements that control its transcriptional regulation are largely unknown. This study uses comparative cross species sequence and functional analyses between humans and a marsupial (the tammar wallaby,Macropus eugenii) to refine the mammalian Wnt4 promoter.
We have defined a highly conserved 89 bp minimal promoter region in human WNT4 by comparative analysis with the tammar wallaby. There are many conserved transcription factor binding sites in the proximal promoter region, including SP1, MyoD, NFκB and AP2, as well as highly conserved CpG islands within the human, mouse and marsupial promoters, suggesting that DNA methylation may play an important role in WNT4 transcriptional regulation.
Using a marsupial model, we have been able to provide new information on the transcriptional regulators in the promoter of this essential mammalian developmental gene, WNT4. These transcription factor binding sites and CpG islands are highly conserved in two disparate mammals, and are likely key controlling elements in the regulation of this essential developmental gene.