ISLET1 is a homeodomain transcription factor necessary for development of the pituitary, retina, motor neurons, heart, and pancreas. Isl1-deficient mice (Isl1-/-) die early during embryogenesis at embryonic day 10.5 due to heart defects, and at that time, they have an undersized pituitary primordium. ISL1 is expressed in differentiating pituitary cells in early embryogenesis. Here, we report the cell-specific expression of ISL1 and assessment of its role in gonadotropes and thyrotropes. Isl1 expression is elevated in pituitaries of Cga-/- mice, a model of hypothyroidism with thyrotrope hypertrophy and hyperplasia. Thyrotrope-specific disruption of Isl1 with Tshb-cre is permissive for normal serum TSH, but T4 levels are decreased, suggesting decreased thyrotrope function. Inducing hypothyroidism in normal mice causes a reduction in T4 levels and dramatically elevated TSH response, but mice with thyrotrope-specific disruption of Isl1 have a blunted TSH response. In contrast, deletion of Isl1 in gonadotropes with an Lhb-cre transgene has no obvious effect on gonadotrope function or fertility. These results show that ISL1 is necessary for maximal thyrotrope response to hypothyroidism, in addition to its role in development of Rathke’s pouch.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology