Developmental regulation of β-galactoside α2, 6-sialyltransferase in small intestine epithelium

Annette Vertino-Bell, Jin Ren, Jennifer D. Black, Joseph T.Y. Lau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


A striking biochemical alteration to the epithelium of the small intestine upon weaning is the loss of mictovillar sialic acids. Antibody and cDNA probes to the β-galactoside β2, 6-sialyltransferase (SiaT-1, EC were used to characterize the expression of this sialyltransferase in the small intestine of suckling rats. SiaT-1 mRNA and protein in the intestinal epithelium are rapidly lost upon weaning, in agreement with the loss of mucosal sialic acids and general sialyltransferase activity. Developmental repression of SiaT-1 is manifested in a proximal to distal gradient; SiaT-1 mRNA and protein are lost first from the duodenum and persist the longest in the ileum. We have previously documented that SiaT-1 gene expression can be transcriptionally initiated from a number of distinct tissue-specific promoter regions. Here, by criteria of mRNA mobility on agarose gels, primer extension analysis, and differential Northern hybridization, we show that the promoter previously considered to be liver-specific is operative in SiaT-1 expression in the small intestine of suckling animals. Comparison of this SiaT-1 promoter region with promoter regions of other genes exhibiting dual intestine-hepatic tissue specificity revealed a number of striking sequence similarities. Regulatory implications and consequences of small intestinal SiaT-1 expression in suckling but not in weaned animals are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-136
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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