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Dev Dyn. 1998 Aug;212(4):540-7.

Murine Hoxc-9 gene contains a structurally and functionally conserved enhancer.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston 29425, USA.


Reporter gene analysis of the Hoxc-9 genomic region in transgenic mice allowed us to identify a positional enhancer in the Hoxc-9 intron that drives expression in the posterior neural tube of midgestation mouse embryos in a Hoxc-9-related manner. Sequence comparison to the chicken Choxc-9 intron revealed the existence of two highly conserved sequence elements (CSEs) in a similar spatial arrangement. These structural similarities in the mammalian and avian lineage are mirrored by conserved function of the chicken Choxc-9 intron in transgenic mice. Deletion analysis of the two introns suggests that full activity of both enhancers depends on cooperation between the two CSEs located close to the respective 5' and 3' splice sites. Following the paradigm of phylogenetically conserved developmental control mechanisms, the Hoxc-9 intragenic enhancer was tested in Drosophila. Our data show that the mouse Hoxc-9 enhancer acts in a conserved fashion in transgenic flies, conferring posteriorly restricted reporter gene expression to the developing central nervous system in third instar larvae. This finding indicates that the Hoxc-9 intragenic enhancer is involved in transcriptional regulatory circuits conserved between vertebrates and arthropods.

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