The genes for rat hepatocyte nuclear factors 3 and 4 (HNF-3α, HNF-3β, HNF-3γ, and HNF-4) have been mapped in mouse by analysis of restriction fragment length polymorphisms in interspecific backcross mice. These hepatocyte-enriched transcription factors are positive-acting transcription factors with binding sites in regulatory regions of many genes expressed in hepatocytes. Both HNF-3α, β, and γ and HNF-4 are also expressed in intestine. They have recently been implicated as potential participants in endodermal development from early gut cells because of their close homology to Drosophila genes, which themselves are expressed in the developing gut. Despite having similar functional roles and highly conserved DNA binding domains, the three loci from the Hnf-3 family of genes mapped to three different mouse chromosomes, suggesting that the Hnf-3 family has become widely dispersed during evolution and implying the necessity for independent activation of each member of the HNF-3 family.
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