Hepatic and Pancreatic Progenitor Cell Transcription Factor Proteins

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Hepatic and Pancreatic Progenitor Cell Transcription Factor Proteins

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Hepatic and Pancreatic Progenitor Cell Transcription Factor Proteins Background

Liver and pancreas develop from the embryonic endoderm, and progenitor cells that produce these organs are identified and regulated by expression of transcription factors. Members of the GATA and HNF-3/FoxA family function in both early stages of hepatic progenitor cells and pancreatic progenitor cells. Other transcription factors (such as PDX-1/IPF1) promote differentiation of pancreatic progenitor cells into all cell types of mature pancreas, including exocrine, endocrine, and ductal cells. Similarly, differentiation of hepatic progenitor cells into hepatocytes and biliary cells is also regulated by transcription factors such as TBX3. Prox1 expression stimulates proliferation of hepatic progenitor cells, but whether these cells have unlimited self-renewal potential is an area of current research. A deeper understanding of transcription factors that regulate the proliferation and differentiation of liver and pancreatic progenitor cells is clinically relevant for the treatment of chronic liver disease and diabetes.


The liver is an organ mainly characterized by metabolic function in the body, and plays a role in the body to oxidize, store glycogen, and synthesize secreted proteins. The liver also produces bile in the digestive system. The liver is the largest organ in the human body, located in the abdomen of the human body, under the right diaphragm, at the front of the gallbladder and in front of the right kidney, above the stomach. The liver is the largest digestive gland in the human digestive system. The average adult liver weighs 1.5 kilograms and is a reddish-brown V-shaped organ. The liver is the main organ of urea synthesis and an important organ of metabolism.

Human liver. Figure 1. Human liver.


The pancreas is a long and narrow gland that traverses the lumbar vertebral plane of the posterior wall of the abdomen. The texture is soft and grayish red. The pancreas can be divided into pancreatic head, pancreatic neck, pancreatic body and pancreatic tail. The pancreatic duct is located in the pancreatic parenchyma, and its walking is consistent with the long axis of the pancreas. From the pancreatic tail to the pancreatic head through the pancreas, many interlobular ducts are received along the way, and finally the liver is merged with the common bile duct in the wall of the descending part of the duodenum. Pancreatic ampulla, opening in the duodenum large nipple. A small tube is sometimes seen in the upper part of the head of the pancreas, which is above the pancreatic duct, called the accessory pancreatic duct, and is open to the small nipple of the duodenum. The pancreas is divided into two parts: the exocrine gland and the endocrine gland. The exocrine gland is composed of acinar and glandular ducts, and the acinus secretes pancreatic juice. The glandular duct is the channel through which pancreatic juice is discharged. The pancreatic juice contains sodium hydrogencarbonate, trypsinogen, lipase, amylase and the like. Pancreatic juice is discharged into the duodenum through the pancreatic duct and has the function of digesting protein, fat and sugar.

Human Pancreas. Figure 2. Human Pancreas.

Hepatic and Pancreatic Progenitor Cell Transcription Factor Proteins

  1. GATA

GATA binding factors are widely expressed throughout vertebrates. In humans and mice, it is encoded by the GATA1 and Gata1 genes, respectively. Its key role in the formation of red blood cells involves promoting the maturation of precursor cells, such as the maturation of precursor cells. GATA1 plays a similar key role in platelet maturation of megakaryocytes, prokaryotic cells and megakaryocytes. The latter cells then release the membrane-encapsulated fragments of their cytoplasm, ie platelets, into the blood. Since GATA1 plays a crucial role in the correct maturation of red blood cells and platelets, the inactivation of the GATA1 gene leads to a decrease in the formation and function of the X chromosome due to erythrocytes and/or platelets, respectively, or in some cases megakaryocytes. Anemia and/or bleeding disorders caused by sexual proliferation.

Protein structure of GATA. Figure 3. Protein structure of GATA.

2. FoxA

FOXA is a member of the forkhead class of DNA binding proteins. These hepatocyte nuclear factors are transcriptional activators of liver-specific transcripts such as albumin and transthyretin, which also interact with chromatin to become precursors. Similar family members in mice have roles in the regulation of metabolism and differentiation of the pancreas and liver.

3. Pdx1

In vertebrates, Pdx1 is required for pancreatic development, including beta cell maturation and duodenal differentiation. In humans, this protein is encoded by the PDX1 gene (formerly known as IPF1). In pancreas development, Pdx1 is expressed by a group of cells in the anterior intestine region of definitive endoderm, whereas Pdx1+ epithelial cells produce developing pancreatic buds, eventually the entire pancreas-exocrine, endocrine and ductal cell population.

Protein structure of Pdx1. Figure 4. Protein structure of Pdx1.


  1.  Gruber TA.; et al. The biology of pediatric acute megakaryoblastic leukemia. Blood. 2015, 126 (8): 943–949.

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