Hepatocyte nuclear factor-1β (HNF-1β) is a transcription factor that regulates gene expression in the kidney, liver, pancreas, and other epithelial organs. Mutations of HNF-1β lead to a syndrome of inherited renal cysts and diabetes and are also a common cause of sporadic renal dysplasia. The full complement of target genes responsible for the functions of HNF-1β, however, is incompletely defined. Using a functional genomics approach involving chromatin immunoprecipitation and promoter arrays, combined with gene expression profiling, we found that an HNF-1β target gene in the kidney is kinesin family member 12 (Kif12), a gene previously identified as a candidate modifier gene in the cpk mouse model of polycystic kidney disease. Mutations of HNF-1β inhibited Kif12 transcription in both cultured cells and knockout mice by altering co-factor recruitment and histone modification. Because kinesin-12 family members participate in orienting cell division, downregulation of Kif12 may underlie the abnormal planar cell polarity observed in cystic kidney diseases.
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