Independent regulation of initiation and maintenance phases of Hoxa3 expression in the vertebrate hindbrain involve auto- and cross-regulatory mechanisms

Manzanares, Miguel, Bel-Vialar, Sophie, Ariza-McNaughton, Linda, Ferretti, Elisabetta, Marshall, Heather, Maconochie, Mark M, Blasi, Francesco and Krumlauf, Robb (2001) Independent regulation of initiation and maintenance phases of Hoxa3 expression in the vertebrate hindbrain involve auto- and cross-regulatory mechanisms. Development, 128. pp. 3595-3607. ISSN 1011-6370

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During development of the vertebrate hindbrain, Hox genes play multiples roles in the segmental processes that regulate anteroposterior (AP) patterning. Paralogous Hox genes, such as Hoxa3, Hoxb3 and Hoxd3, generally have very similar patterns of expression, and gene targeting experiments have shown that members of paralogy group 3 can functionally compensate for each other. Hence, distinct functions for individual members of this family may primarily depend upon differences in their expression domains. The earliest domains of expression of the Hoxa3 and Hoxb3 genes in hindbrain rhombomeric (r) segments are transiently regulated by kreisler, a conserved Maf b-Zip protein, but the mechanisms that maintain expression in later stages are unknown. In this study, we have compared the segmental expression and regulation of Hoxa3 and Hoxb3 in mouse and chick embryos to investigate how they are controlled after initial activation. We found that the patterns of Hoxa3 and Hoxb3 expression in r5 and r6 in later stages during mouse and chick hindbrain development were differentially regulated. Hoxa3 expression was maintained in r5 and r6, while Hoxb3 was downregulated. Regulatory comparisons of cis-elements from the chick and mouse Hoxa3 locus in both transgenic mouse and chick embryos have identified a conserved enhancer that mediates the late phase of Hoxa3 expression through a conserved auto/cross-regulatory loop. This block of similarity is also present in the human and horn shark loci, and contains two bipartite Hox/Pbx-binding sites that are necessary for its in vivo activity in the hindbrain. These HOX/PBC sites are positioned near a conserved kreisler-binding site (KrA) that is involved in activating early expression in r5 and r6, but their activity is independent of kreisler. This work demonstrates that separate elements are involved in initiating and maintaining Hoxa3 expression during hindbrain segmentation, and that it is regulated in a manner different from Hoxb3 in later stages. Together, these findings add further strength to the emerging importance of positive auto- and cross-regulatory interactions between Hox genes as a general mechanism for maintaining their correct spatial patterns in the vertebrate nervous system.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Neuroscience
Depositing User: Mark Maconochie
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 19:35
Last Modified: 23 Mar 2012 15:12
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