Novel candidate regulators and developmental trajectory of pituitary thyrotropes


  • L.Y.M. Cheung
  • L. Menage
  • K. Rizzoti
  • G. Hamilton
  • T. Dumontet
  • K. Basham
  • A.Z. Daly
  • M.L. Brinkmeier
  • B.E. Masser
  • M. Treier
  • J. Cobb
  • A. Delogu
  • R. Lovell-Badge
  • G.D. Hammer
  • S.A. Camper


  • Endocrinology


  • Endocrinology 164 (6): bqad076


  • The pituitary gland regulates growth, metabolism, reproduction, the stress response, uterine contractions, lactation, and water retention. It secretes hormones in response to hypothalamic input, end organ feedback, and diurnal cues. The mechanisms by which pituitary stem cells are recruited to proliferate, maintain quiescence or differentiate into specific cell types, especially thyrotropes, are not well understood. We utilized single-cell RNA sequencing in juvenile P7 mouse pituitary cells to identify novel factors in pituitary cell populations, with a focus on thyrotropes and rare subtypes. We first observed cells co-expressing markers of both thyrotropes and gonadotropes, such as Pou1f1 and Nr5a1. This was validated in vivo by both immunohistochemistry and lineage tracing of thyrotropes derived from Nr5a1-Cre; mTmG mice and demonstrates that Nr5a1-progenitors give rise to a proportion of thyrotropes during development. Our dataset also identifies novel factors expressed in pars distalis and pars tuberalis thyrotropes, including the Shox2b isoform in all thyrotropes and Sox14 specifically in Pou1f1-negative pars tuberalis thyrotropes. We have therefore used single-cell transcriptomics to determine a novel developmental trajectory for thyrotropes and potential novel regulators of thyrotrope populations.