Head of the National Clinical Graduate School
Head of the Clinical Graduate School in Pediatrics and Obstetrics/Gynecology (PEGY) (co-chaired with prof. Jorma Paavonen)
Tel. +358 9 471 71983
Visiting professor of pediatrics, Division of Pediatric
Growth and development requires precise control of gene expression. Abnormalities in transcription have been linked to a variety of human diseases, including birth defects and neoplasia. Our studies focus on the GATA transcription factors, which are zinc finger proteins recognizing a consensus DNA sequence (A/T)GATA(A/G), known as GATA-motif, an essential cis -acting element in the promoters and enhancers of a variety of genes. These proteins form two subgroups based on their sequence homology and expression patterns. The first subgroup, consisting of GATA-1, -2, and -3, is essential for normal hematopoiesis. The second subgroup members, namely GATA-4, -5, and -6, are expressed in the heart, gut epithelium, yolk sac endoderm, and several endocrine organs. The specificity of gene regulation by GATA factors is in part achieved by cofactors acting in concert with them. Two related factors, FOG-1 and FOG-2 (FOG for friend-of-GATA), bind to one of the two zinc fingers of the GATA proteins to activate or repress the gene transactivation by the GATA proteins. The essential role of GATA factors in the development of endocrine and endoderm derived organs has begun to unravel during the past years, but their ultimate target genes and their role in human endocrine and endoderm disease and cancer has still remained largely unknown. The long-term goal of our projects is to recognize potential targets for future diagnostics and therapy.
The major previous achievements of our research are:
Studies on other issues than GATA factors have e.g. A) suggested essential roles for Fgf8 (Fgf for fibroblast growth factor) in the development of limbs, cranial and CNS structures, B) described a new genetic form of immunodeficiency, i.e. CD45 deficiency and C) described clinical features and developments in the treatment of embryonic tumors.
Page updated May 6, 2011