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Dev Genes Evol. 2001 Jan;211(1):10-9.

Gene structure and larval expression of cnox-2Am from the coral Acropora millepora.

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Research School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra.


We have cloned a Hox-like gene, cnox-2Am, from a staghorn coral, Acropora millepora, an anthozoan cnidarian, and characterised its embryonic and larval expression. cnox-2Am and its orthologs in other cnidarians and Trichoplax most closely resemble the Gsx and, to a lesser extent, Hox 3/4 proteins. Developmental northern blots and in situ hybridisation are consistent in showing that cnox-2Am message appears in the planula larva shortly after the oral/aboral axis is formed following gastrulation. Expression is localised in scattered ectodermal cells with a restricted distribution along the oral/aboral body axis. They are most abundant along the sides of the cylindrical larva, rare in the oral region and absent from the aboral region. These cells, which on morphological grounds we believe to be neurons, are of two types; one tri-or multipolar near the basement membrane and a second extending projections in both directions from a mid-ectodermal nucleus. Anti-RFamide staining reveals neurons with a similar morphology to the cnox-2Am-expressing cells. However, RFamide-expressing neurons are more abundant, especially at the aboral end of the planula, where there is no cnox-2Am expression. The pattern of expression of cnox-2Am resembles that of Gsx orthologs in Drosophila and vertebrates in being expressed in a spatially restricted portion of the nervous system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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