Molecular evolution of Hox gene regulation: Cloning and transgenic analysis of the lamprey HoxQ8 gene

Janet L. Carr, Cooduvalli S. Shashikant, Wendy J. Bailey, Frank H. Ruddle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The mammalian Hox clusters arose by duplication of a primordial cluster. The duplication of Hox clusters created redundancy within cognate groups, allowing for change in function over time. The lamprey, Petromyzon marinus, occupies an intermediate position within the chordates, both in terms of morphologic complexity and possibly cluster number. To determine the extent of divergence among Hox genes after duplication events within vertebrates, we analyzed Hox genes belonging to cognate group 8. Here we report characterization of the HoxQ8 gene, which shows conservation with mammalian genes in its amino-terminal, homeobox and hexapeptide sequences, and in the position of its splice sites. A β-galactosidase reporter gene was introduced in the HoxQ8 genomic region by targeted recombinational cloning using a yeast-bacteria shuttle vector, pClasper. These reporter gene constructs were tested for their ability to direct region-specific expression patterns in transgenic mouse embryos. Lamprey enhancers direct expression to posterior neural tube but not to mesoderm, suggesting conservation of neuronal enhancers. In the presence of the mouse heat shock promoter, lamprey enhancers could also direct expression to the posterior mesoderm suggesting that there has been some divergence in promoter function. Our results suggest that comparative studies on Hox gene structure and analysis of regulatory elements may provide insights into changes concomitant with Hox cluster duplications in the chordates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-85
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Zoology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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