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Development. 1990 Dec;110(4):1159-68.

Expression of the murine homeobox-containing gene Hox-2.3 suggests multiple time-dependent and tissue-specific roles during development.

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  • 1Hubrecht Laboratorium, Netherlands Institute for Developmental Biology, Utrecht.


This study reports the expression pattern of the murine homeobox-containing gene Hox-2.3 during development. Using in situ hybridization, we first detect Hox-2.3 transcripts in the allantois primordium at 7.5 days post coitum (p.c.). One day later transcripts are found in embryonic ectoderm and mesoderm. In 9.5- and 10.5- day embryos Hox-2.3 expression is observed in the central nervous system (CNS) from a rostral boundary in the upper spinal cord to the caudal end. Within this anteroposterior domain, Hox-2.3 expression is also found in the peripheral nervous system, in the mesoderm and in the hindgut epithelium. The rostral boundary in the mesoderm is located at the level of the 11th somite and thus shifted posteriorwards compared to the rostral boundary in the neural tube. During subsequent development, the initially broad expression pattern in the somitic, lateral plate and intermediate mesoderm becomes restricted to structures in the urogenital system. In adults, the spinal cord and the derivatives of the Wolffian and Müllerian ducts continue to express the gene at a high level. The described temporal and tissue-specific changes in expression of Hox-2.3 are suggestive of several levels of regulation as reported for Drosophila homeotic genes and argue for more than one role of the gene during development and in adults.

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