The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 62: 325 - 333 (2018)

Vol 62, Issue 4-5

Pou3f transcription factor expression during embryonic development highlights distinct pou3f3 and pou3f4 localization in the Xenopus laevis kidney

Developmental Expression Pattern | Published: 5 June 2018

Camille Cosse-Etchepare1, Isabelle Gervi1, Isabelle Buisson1, Laurent Formery2, Michael Schubert2, Jean-François Riou1, Muriel Umbhauer*,1 and Ronan Le Bouffant*,1

1Sorbonne Université, CNRS Biologie du Développement, Institut de Biologie Paris-Seine (IBPS), Paris and 2Sorbonne Université, CNRS, Laboratoire de Biologie du Développement de Villefranche-sur-Mer, Observatoire Océanologique de Villefranche-sur-Mer, Villefranche-sur-Mer, France


The POU (Pit-Oct-Unc) genes encode a large transcription factor family comprising 6 classes (pou1f to pou6f ) involved in many developmental processes, such as cell commitment and differentiation. The pou3f class contains four members (pou3f1, pou3f2, pou3f3, pou3f4) characterized by expression in ectodermal tissue derivatives, such as nervous system and otic vesicle, during mammalian development. In order to obtain insights into the potential conservation of this class of transcription factors in vertebrates, we carried out a phylogenetic analysis and a comprehensive comparative study of pou3f expression in the frog Xenopus laevis. All vertebrates examined possessed members of the four pou3f subfamilies, excepting the zebrafish, which lacked a pou3f4 gene. Whole mount in situ hybridization and real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) analyses revealed that Xenopus pou3f genes were expressed in the forming neural tube and their expression was maintained in the brain, mostly in the dorsal part, at tailbud stages. The pou3f2, pou3f3, and pou3f4 genes were also expressed in the developing otic vesicle, and pou3f1 in some cells of the epidermis. Besides ectodermal derivatives, pou3f3 and pou3f4 were expressed in the developing kidney. Their expression started at the early tailbud stage in the pronephric anlage and partly overlapped. In the mature pronephric tubule, pou3f3 was restricted to the intermediate tubule, while pou3f4 was also expressed in the distal and connecting tubule. Together, our results highlight a significant conservation of pou3f gene expression in vertebrates and indicate that they may have distinct but also redundant functions during neural and renal development.


Pou3f, embryo, kidney, Xenopus laevis

Full text in web format is not available for this article. Please download the PDF version.