Function of the Evx-2 gene in the morphogenesis of vertebrate limbs
Vertebrate gene members of the HoxD complex are essential for proper development of the appendicular skeletons. Inactivation of these genes induces severe alterations in the size and number of bony elements. Evx-2, a gene related to the Drosophila even-skipped (eve) gene, is located close to Hoxd-13 and is expressed in limbs like the neighbouring Hoxd genes. To investigate whether this tight linkage reflects a functional similarity, we produced a null allele of Evx-2. Furthermore, and because Hoxd-13 function is prevalent over that of nearby Hoxd genes, we generated two different double mutant loci wherein both Evx-2 and Hoxd-13 were inactivated in cis. The analysis of these various genetic configurations revealed the important function of Evx-2 during the development of the autopod as well as its genetic interaction with Hoxd-13. These results show that, in limbs, Evx-2 functions like a Hoxd gene. A potential evolutionary scenario is discussed, in which Evx-2 was recruited by the HoxD complex in conjunction with the emergence of digits in an ancestral tetrapod.
Department of Zoology and Animal Biology, University of Geneva, Sciences III, Switzerland.
Record created on 2008-02-25, modified on 2016-08-08