Pluripotent mouse P19 embryonal carcinoma (EC) cells have been extensively used as a developmental model system because they can differentiate in the presence of retinoic acid (RA) into derivatives of all three germ layers depending on RA dosage and culture conditions. The expression of several genes has been shown to be induced in RA-treated P19 EC cells and, interestingly, some of these genes may play important roles during mouse embryogenesis. In view of the increasing evidence that RA is a crucial signaling molecule during vertebrate development, we have initiated a study aimed at the systematic isolation of genes whose expression is induced in P19 cells at various times after exposure to RA. We describe here an efficient differential subtractive hybridization cloning strategy which was used to identify additional RA-responsive genes in P19 cells. Fifty different cDNA fragments corresponding to RA-induced genes were isolated. Ten cDNAs represent known genes, 4 of which have already been described as RA-inducible, while the remaining 40 correspond to novel genes. Many of these cDNA sequences represent low-abundance mRNAs. Kinetic analysis of mRNA accumulation following RA treatment allowed us to characterize four classes of RA-responsive genes. We also report the sequence and expression pattern
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