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Dev Genes Evol. 1998 Apr;208(2):100-5.

Characterization and developmental expression of AmphiNk2-2, an NK2 class homeobox gene from Amphioxus. (Phylum Chordata; Subphylum Cephalochordata).

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1
Division of Marine Biology, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA 19093-0202, USA.

Abstract

The genome of amphioxus includes AmphiNk2-2, the first gene of the NK2 homeobox class to be demonstrated in any invertebrate deuterostome. AmphiNk2-2 encodes a protein with a TN domain, homeodomain, and NK2-specific domain; on the basis of amino acid identities in these conserved regions, AmphiNk2-2 is a homolog of Drosophila vnd and vertebrate Nkx2-2. During amphioxus development, expression of Amph- iNk2-2 is first detected ventrally in the endoderm of late gastrulae. In neurulae, endodermal expression divides into three domains (the pharynx, midgut, and hindgut), and neural expression commences in two longitudinal bands of cells in the anterior neural tube. These neural tube cells occupy a ventrolateral position on either side of the cerebral vesicle (the probable homolog of the vertebrate diencephalic forebrain). The dynamic expression patterns of AmphiNkx2-2 suggest successive roles, first in regionalizing the endoderm and nervous system and later during differentiation of specific cell types in the gut (possibly peptide endocrine cells) and brain (possibly including axon outgrowth and guidance).

PMID:
9569351
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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