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EMBO J. 2003 Jan 15;22(2):262-9.

Retinoids regulate the anterior expression boundaries of 5' Hoxb genes in posterior hindbrain.

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Hubrecht Laboratory, The Netherlands Institute of Developmental Biology, Uppsalalaan 8, 3584 CT Utrecht, The Netherlands.


We describe the regulatory interactions that cause anterior extension of the mouse 5' Hoxb expression domains from spinal cord levels to their definitive boundaries in the posterior hindbrain between embryonic day E10 and E11.5. This anterior expansion is retinoid dependent since it does not occur in mouse embryos deficient for the retinoic acid-synthesizing enzyme retinaldehyde dehydrogenase 2. A retinoic acid response element (RARE) was identified downstream of Hoxb5 and shown to be essential for expression of Hoxb5 and Hoxb8 reporter transgenes in the anterior neural tube. The spatio-temporal activity of this element overlaps with rostral extension of the expression domain of endogenous Hoxb5, Hoxb6 and Hoxb8 into the posterior hindbrain. The RARE and surrounding sequences are found at homologous positions in the human, mouse and zebrafish genome, which supports an evolutionarily conserved regulatory function.

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