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EMBO J. 1988 Oct;7(10):3199-209.

Differential antero-posterior expression of two proteins encoded by a homeobox gene in Xenopus and mouse embryos.

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Department of Biological Chemistry, University of California School of Medicine, Los Angeles 90024.


The X.laevis XlHbox 1 gene uses two functional promoters to produce a short and a long protein, both containing the same homeodomain. In this report we use specific antibodies to localize both proteins in frog embryos. The antibodies also recognize the homologous proteins in mouse embryos. In both mammalian and amphibian embryos, expression of the long protein starts more posteriorly than that of the short protein. This difference in spatial expression applies to the nervous system, the segmented mesoderm and the internal organs. This suggests that each promoter from this gene has precisely restricted regions of expression along the anterior-posterior axis of the embryo. Because the long and short proteins share a common DNA-binding specificity but differ by an 82 amino acid domain, their differential distribution may have distinct developmental consequences.

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