Search tips
Search criteria 


Logo of molcellbPermissionsJournals.ASM.orgJournalMCB ArticleJournal InfoAuthorsReviewers
Mol Cell Biol. 1992 February; 12(2): 638–649.
PMCID: PMC364253

Sequential expression of multiple POU proteins during amphibian early development.


The octamer motif is a common cis-acting regulatory element that functions in the transcriptional control regions of diverse genes and in viral origins of replication. The ability of a consensus octamer motif to stimulate transcription of a histone H2B promoter in frog oocytes suggests that oocytes contain a transcriptionally active octamer-binding protein(s). We show here that frog oocytes and developing embryos contain multiple octamer-binding proteins that are expressed in a sequential manner during early development. Sequences encoding three novel octamer binding-proteins were isolated from Xenopus cDNA libraries by virtue of their homology with the DNA binding (POU) domain of Oct-1. The predicted POU domains of these proteins were most highly related to mammalian Oct-3 (also termed Oct-4), a germ line-specific gene required for mouse early development. Transcripts from these amphibian POU-domain genes were most abundant during early embryogenesis and absent from most adult somatic tissues. One of the genes, termed Oct-60, was primarily expressed as a maternal transcript localized in the animal hemisphere in mature oocytes. The protein encoded by this gene was present in oocytes and early embryos until the gastrula stage of development. Transcripts from a second POU-domain gene, Oct-25, were present at low levels in oocytes and early embryos and were dramatically upregulated during early gastrulation. In contrast to the Oct-60 mRNA, translation of Oct-25 mRNA appeared to be developmentally regulated, since the corresponding protein was detected in embryos during gastrulation but not in oocytes or rapidly cleaving embryos. Transcripts from the third POU protein gene, Oct-91, were induced after the midblastula transition and reached their highest levels of accumulation during late gastrulation. The expression of all three genes decreased during late gastrulation and early neurulation. By analogy with other members of the POU-domain gene family, the products of these genes may play critical roles in the determination of cell fate and the regulation of cell proliferation.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (3.0M), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Images in this article

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Baltzinger M, Stiegler P, Remy P. Cloning and sequencing of POU-boxes expressed in Xenopus laevis neurula embryos. Nucleic Acids Res. 1990 Oct 25;18(20):6131–6131. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Bodner M, Castrillo JL, Theill LE, Deerinck T, Ellisman M, Karin M. The pituitary-specific transcription factor GHF-1 is a homeobox-containing protein. Cell. 1988 Nov 4;55(3):505–518. [PubMed]
  • Bürglin TR, Finney M, Coulson A, Ruvkun G. Caenorhabditis elegans has scores of homoeobox-containing genes. Nature. 1989 Sep 21;341(6239):239–243. [PubMed]
  • Castrillo JL, Theill LE, Karin M. Function of the homeodomain protein GHF1 in pituitary cell proliferation. Science. 1991 Jul 12;253(5016):197–199. [PubMed]
  • Chomczynski P, Sacchi N. Single-step method of RNA isolation by acid guanidinium thiocyanate-phenol-chloroform extraction. Anal Biochem. 1987 Apr;162(1):156–159. [PubMed]
  • Clerc RG, Corcoran LM, LeBowitz JH, Baltimore D, Sharp PA. The B-cell-specific Oct-2 protein contains POU box- and homeo box-type domains. Genes Dev. 1988 Dec;2(12A):1570–1581. [PubMed]
  • Finney M, Ruvkun G, Horvitz HR. The C. elegans cell lineage and differentiation gene unc-86 encodes a protein with a homeodomain and extended similarity to transcription factors. Cell. 1988 Dec 2;55(5):757–769. [PubMed]
  • He X, Treacy MN, Simmons DM, Ingraham HA, Swanson LW, Rosenfeld MG. Expression of a large family of POU-domain regulatory genes in mammalian brain development. Nature. 1989 Jul 6;340(6228):35–41. [PubMed]
  • Herr W, Sturm RA, Clerc RG, Corcoran LM, Baltimore D, Sharp PA, Ingraham HA, Rosenfeld MG, Finney M, Ruvkun G, et al. The POU domain: a large conserved region in the mammalian pit-1, oct-1, oct-2, and Caenorhabditis elegans unc-86 gene products. Genes Dev. 1988 Dec;2(12A):1513–1516. [PubMed]
  • Hinkley C, Perry M. A variant octamer motif in a Xenopus H2B histone gene promoter is not required for transcription in frog oocytes. Mol Cell Biol. 1991 Feb;11(2):641–654. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Ingraham HA, Chen RP, Mangalam HJ, Elsholtz HP, Flynn SE, Lin CR, Simmons DM, Swanson L, Rosenfeld MG. A tissue-specific transcription factor containing a homeodomain specifies a pituitary phenotype. Cell. 1988 Nov 4;55(3):519–529. [PubMed]
  • Ingraham HA, Flynn SE, Voss JW, Albert VR, Kapiloff MS, Wilson L, Rosenfeld MG. The POU-specific domain of Pit-1 is essential for sequence-specific, high affinity DNA binding and DNA-dependent Pit-1-Pit-1 interactions. Cell. 1990 Jun 15;61(6):1021–1033. [PubMed]
  • Kemler I, Bucher E, Seipel K, Müller-Immerglück MM, Schaffner W. Promoters with the octamer DNA motif (ATGCAAAT) can be ubiquitous or cell type-specific depending on binding affinity of the octamer site and Oct-factor concentration. Nucleic Acids Res. 1991 Jan 25;19(2):237–242. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Lassar AB, Buskin JN, Lockshon D, Davis RL, Apone S, Hauschka SD, Weintraub H. MyoD is a sequence-specific DNA binding protein requiring a region of myc homology to bind to the muscle creatine kinase enhancer. Cell. 1989 Sep 8;58(5):823–831. [PubMed]
  • Lenardo MJ, Staudt L, Robbins P, Kuang A, Mulligan RC, Baltimore D. Repression of the IgH enhancer in teratocarcinoma cells associated with a novel octamer factor. Science. 1989 Jan 27;243(4890):544–546. [PubMed]
  • Li S, Crenshaw EB, 3rd, Rawson EJ, Simmons DM, Swanson LW, Rosenfeld MG. Dwarf locus mutants lacking three pituitary cell types result from mutations in the POU-domain gene pit-1. Nature. 1990 Oct 11;347(6293):528–533. [PubMed]
  • Melton DA. Pattern formation during animal development. Science. 1991 Apr 12;252(5003):234–241. [PubMed]
  • Monuki ES, Kuhn R, Weinmaster G, Trapp BD, Lemke G. Expression and activity of the POU transcription factor SCIP. Science. 1990 Sep 14;249(4974):1300–1303. [PubMed]
  • Okamoto K, Okazawa H, Okuda A, Sakai M, Muramatsu M, Hamada H. A novel octamer binding transcription factor is differentially expressed in mouse embryonic cells. Cell. 1990 Feb 9;60(3):461–472. [PubMed]
  • O'Neill EA, Fletcher C, Burrow CR, Heintz N, Roeder RG, Kelly TJ. Transcription factor OTF-1 is functionally identical to the DNA replication factor NF-III. Science. 1988 Sep 2;241(4870):1210–1213. [PubMed]
  • Rebagliati MR, Weeks DL, Harvey RP, Melton DA. Identification and cloning of localized maternal RNAs from Xenopus eggs. Cell. 1985 Oct;42(3):769–777. [PubMed]
  • Reid L. From gradients to axes, from morphogenesis to differentiation. Cell. 1990 Nov 30;63(5):875–882. [PubMed]
  • Rosenfeld MG. POU-domain transcription factors: pou-er-ful developmental regulators. Genes Dev. 1991 Jun;5(6):897–907. [PubMed]
  • Rosner MH, De Santo RJ, Arnheiter H, Staudt LM. Oct-3 is a maternal factor required for the first mouse embryonic division. Cell. 1991 Mar 22;64(6):1103–1110. [PubMed]
  • Rosner MH, Vigano MA, Ozato K, Timmons PM, Poirier F, Rigby PW, Staudt LM. A POU-domain transcription factor in early stem cells and germ cells of the mammalian embryo. Nature. 1990 Jun 21;345(6277):686–692. [PubMed]
  • Ruvkun G, Finney M. Regulation of transcription and cell identity by POU domain proteins. Cell. 1991 Feb 8;64(3):475–478. [PubMed]
  • Scales JB, Olson EN, Perry M. Two distinct Xenopus genes with homology to MyoD1 are expressed before somite formation in early embryogenesis. Mol Cell Biol. 1990 Apr;10(4):1516–1524. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Scales JB, Olson EN, Perry M. Differential expression of two distinct MyoD genes in Xenopus. Cell Growth Differ. 1991 Dec;2(12):619–629. [PubMed]
  • Schöler HR, Dressler GR, Balling R, Rohdewohld H, Gruss P. Oct-4: a germline-specific transcription factor mapping to the mouse t-complex. EMBO J. 1990 Jul;9(7):2185–2195. [PubMed]
  • Schöler HR, Hatzopoulos AK, Balling R, Suzuki N, Gruss P. A family of octamer-specific proteins present during mouse embryogenesis: evidence for germline-specific expression of an Oct factor. EMBO J. 1989 Sep;8(9):2543–2550. [PubMed]
  • Schöler HR, Ruppert S, Suzuki N, Chowdhury K, Gruss P. New type of POU domain in germ line-specific protein Oct-4. Nature. 1990 Mar 29;344(6265):435–439. [PubMed]
  • Smith DP, Old RW. Nucleotide sequence of Xenopus laevis Oct-1 cDNA. Nucleic Acids Res. 1990 Jan 25;18(2):369–369. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Smith LD. The role of a "germinal plasm" in the formation of primordial germ cells in Rana pipiens. Dev Biol. 1966 Oct;14(2):330–347. [PubMed]
  • Stern S, Tanaka M, Herr W. The Oct-1 homoeodomain directs formation of a multiprotein-DNA complex with the HSV transactivator VP16. Nature. 1989 Oct 19;341(6243):624–630. [PubMed]
  • Sturm RA, Das G, Herr W. The ubiquitous octamer-binding protein Oct-1 contains a POU domain with a homeo box subdomain. Genes Dev. 1988 Dec;2(12A):1582–1599. [PubMed]
  • Suzuki N, Rohdewohld H, Neuman T, Gruss P, Schöler HR. Oct-6: a POU transcription factor expressed in embryonal stem cells and in the developing brain. EMBO J. 1990 Nov;9(11):3723–3732. [PubMed]
  • Tanaka M, Herr W. Differential transcriptional activation by Oct-1 and Oct-2: interdependent activation domains induce Oct-2 phosphorylation. Cell. 1990 Feb 9;60(3):375–386. [PubMed]
  • Treacy MN, He X, Rosenfeld MG. I-POU: a POU-domain protein that inhibits neuron-specific gene activation. Nature. 1991 Apr 18;350(6319):577–584. [PubMed]
  • Verrijzer CP, Kal AJ, Van der Vliet PC. The DNA binding domain (POU domain) of transcription factor oct-1 suffices for stimulation of DNA replication. EMBO J. 1990 Jun;9(6):1883–1888. [PubMed]
  • Voss JW, Wilson L, Rosenfeld MG. POU-domain proteins Pit-1 and Oct-1 interact to form a heteromeric complex and can cooperate to induce expression of the prolactin promoter. Genes Dev. 1991 Jul;5(7):1309–1320. [PubMed]

Articles from Molecular and Cellular Biology are provided here courtesy of American Society for Microbiology (ASM)