The Meriones Jirds belong to the genus of Gerbillinae (Rodentia: Muridae). We and others have previously reported the lack of the pancreatic β-cell transcription factor, Pdx-1 in the fat sand rat, Psammomys obesus. The aim of the study was to investigate the expression and localization of Pdx-1 in phylogenetically related members of the Gerbillinae subfamily. In addition, we characterized by IHC the expression pattern of islet hormones and additional important pancreatic transcription factors in order to evaluate overall endocrine pancreas appearance. PCR showed that Pdx-1 was easily amplified from a wide range of phylogenetically distant species but not from 13 different gerbilline species. Identical to P. obesus the important β-cell transcription factor Pdx-1 was absent from all five jirds. However, expression of other critical islet transcription factors and islet hormones was generally normal. Insulin was localized in the center of the islets with glucagon, somatostatin and pancreatic polypeptide (PP) found in the islet mantle. PYY cells were also observed and colocalized with PP cells. The NKX family of transcription factors were localized to the same cell types as seen in other rodents. MafA was nuclear localized in some of the insulin immunoreactive but not in other cell types, while MafB was found not only in the glucagon cells but also in many of the insulin cells. In conclusion, Pdx-1 appears to be lacking in all gerbils and despite the lack of Pdx-1, the Meriones Jirds have islets that are morphologically similar to other rodents and express hormones and transcription factors in the expected pattern except for MafA and MafB.
- Transcription factors