Fushi-tarazu Factor-1 (FTZ-F1) is a family of nuclear receptors involved in various developmental processes. We have cloned a zebrafish FTZ-F1 gene, termed ff1, which belongs to the fetoprotein transcription factor/liver receptor homologue-1 (FTF/LRH-1) subgroup of the FTZ-F1 family. Four transcripts arise as a result of differential promoter usage and alternative splicing at the 3'-most exons. The longer transcript, form A, encodes a transcriptional activator. The shorter transcript, form B, lacks the activation domain, and hence could not activate transcription. The difference in promoter usage generates FF1 proteins with different N-terminal sequences. All four transcripts appear to be expressed in most of the adult tissues, whereas, during embryo development, the IIA form is the predominant transcript. Reverse transcriptase-PCR and in situ hybridization experiments showed that the ff1 transcript is expressed in the hypothalamus, spinal cord, mandibular arch and digestive organs, including pancreas. liver, and intestine. The expression of ff1 in the digestive organs implies its function in gut development.
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