The full-length mammalian homologs of groucho, Tle1, 2, 3, and 4, act as transcriptional corepressors and are recruited by transcription factors containing an eh1 or WRPW/Y domain. Many transcription factors critical to pancreas development contain a Gro/TLE interaction domain and several have been shown to require Gro/TLE interactions for proper function during neuronal development. However, a detailed analysis of the expression patterns of the Gro/TLE proteins in pancreas development has not been performed. Moreover, little is known about the ability of Gro/TLE proteins to interact with transcription factors in the pancreas.
We describe the expression of Gro/TLE family members, and of 34 different transcription factors that contain a Gro/TLE interaction motif, in the pancreas utilizing nine SAGE libraries created from the developing and adult pancreas, as well as the GenePaint database. Next, we show the dynamic expression of Tle1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 during pancreas development by qRT-PCR. To further define the cell-type specificity of the expression of these proteins we use immunofluorescence to co-localize them with Pdx1 at embryonic day 12.5 (E12.5), Ngn3 at E14.5, Pdx1, Nkx2-2, Insulin, Glucagon, Pancreatic polypeptide and Somatostatin at E18.5, as well as Insulin and Glucagon in the adult. We then show that Tle2 can interact with Nkx2-2, Hes1, Arx, and Nkx6-1 which are all critical factors in pancreas development. Finally, we demonstrate that Tle2 modulates the repressive abilities of Arx in a β-cell line.
Although Tle1, 2, 3, and 4 show overlapping expression in pancreatic progenitors and in the adult islet, the expression of these factors is restricted to different cell types during endocrine cell maturation. Of note, Tle2 and Tle3 are co-expressed with Gro/TLE interaction domain containing transcription factors that are essential for endocrine pancreas development. We further demonstrate that Tle2 can interact with several of these factors and that Tle2 modulate Arx's repressive activity. Taken together our studies suggest that Gro/TLE proteins play a role in the repression of target genes during endocrine cell specification.