In vivo targeted mutagenesis of a regulatory element required for positioning the Hoxd-11 and Hoxd-10 expression boundaries
Vertebrate Hox genes are required for the proper organization of structures along the rostrocaudal axis. Hoxd-11 is expressed in the posterior part of the embryo, up to the level of prevertebra 27, and its expression boundary is reproduced by a Hoxd-11/lacZ transgene. Expression of this transgene anterior to prevertebra 27 is prevented by the silencing activity of a cis-acting element, region IX. Using transgenic mice, we show that Hoxd-11 repression by region IX is necessary to position the sacrum properly. This silencing activity depends on phylogenetically conserved sequences able to bind in vitro retinoic acid receptors and COUP-TFs. ES cells were used to generate mice carrying a subtle mutation that abolishes binding of nuclear receptors to region IX. Mutant mice display an anterior shift of their lumbosacral transition inherited as a codominant trait. In mutant embryos, expression of both Hoxd-11 and Hoxd-10 mRNAs in the prevertebral column is anteriorized. These results illustrate the sharing, in cis, of a single regulatory element in order to establish the expression boundaries of two neighboring Hoxd genes.
Department of Zoology and Animal Biology, University of Geneva, Sciences III, Switzerland.
Record created on 2008-02-25, modified on 2016-08-08