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Dev Biol. 2006 Sep 15;297(2):493-507. Epub 2006 May 26.

A group 13 homeodomain is neither necessary nor sufficient for posterior prevalence in the mouse limb.

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Department of Human Genetics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.


Posterior prevalence is the general property attributed to HOX proteins describing the dominant effect of more posterior HOX proteins over the function of anterior orthologs in common areas of expression. To explore the HOX group 13 protein domains required for this property, we used the mouse Prx-1 promoter to drive transgenic expression of Hox constructs throughout the entire limb bud during development. This system allowed us to conclusively demonstrate a hierarchy of Hox function in developing limbs. Furthermore, by substituting the HOXD11 or HOXA9 homeodomain for that of HOXD13, we show that a HOXD13 homeodomain is not necessary for posterior prevalence. Proximal expression of these chimeric proteins unexpectedly caused defects consistent with wild-type HOXD13 mediated posterior prevalence. Moreover, group 13 non-homeodomain residues appear to confer the property as proximal expression of HOXA9 containing the HOXD13 homeodomain did not result in limb reductions characteristic of HOXD13. These data are most compatible with models of posterior prevalence based on protein-protein interactions and support examination of the N-terminal non-homeodomain regions of Hox group 13 proteins as necessary agents for posterior prevalence.

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