[Frontiers in Bioscience 18, 740-747, January 1, 2013]
Role of homeobox genes in the hypothalamic development and energy balance
Takao Kaji1, Katsunori Nonogaki1
1Department of Lifestyle Medicine, Translational Research Center, Tohoku University Hospital, 1-1 Seiryo-machi, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi 980-8574, Japan
1. TABLE OF CONTENTS
Homeobox genes contribute to the regionalization, patterning and cell differentiation during embryogenesis and organ development. During mammalian embryonic development, homeobox genes, including orthopedia (Otp), a brain-specific homeobox transcription factor (Bsx) and a thyroid transcription factor-1 (TTF-1), are expressed in the hypothalamus. The genetic ablation of these genes indicated that Otp and TTF-1 are essential for the normal morphological development of the hypothalamus, including the arcuate nucleus (ARC), whereas Bsx is not required. In the adult stage, Bsx and TTF-1 continue to be expressed in the hypothalamus, including the ARC, and serve as transcription factors of neuropeptide Y and agouti-related protein. The expression of hypothalamic Bsx and TTF-1 can be altered by the feeding state and appetite regulatory hormones such as ghrelin and leptin. Although Bsx and TTF-1 are essential for normal feeding behavior in adult mice, they exert different effects on the expression of hypothalamic pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) and body weight homeostasis. Thus, the hypothalamic homeobox genes may contribute to the dissociation of food intake and body weight via AgRP-POMC neurons.