A new human homeo box-containing gene designated Hox-5.2 was cloned and mapped to human chromosome 2. This homeo box is related in sequence to Abdominal-B, a Drosophila homeotic gene that specifies identity of posterior segments. An antibody probe was made using a human Hox-5.2 fusion protein and was found to stain posterior regions of mouse, chicken, and Xenopus embryos. Unexpectedly, when the distribution of Hox-5.2 antigen was compared with that of X1Hbox 1 antigen, a non-overlapping and mutually exclusive pattern was detected (e.g., in developing limb buds, intestine, and somites). Regions expressing Hox-5.2 do not express X1Hbox 1 protein, and vice versa. Hox-5.2 antigen is detected strongly in developing fore- and hindlimb buds, where it forms a gradient of nuclear protein throughout most of the mesenchyme. This gradient is maximal in distal and posterior regions. Hox-5.2 expression is activated in Xenopus limb regeneration blastemas, as expected for any gene involved in pattern formation. As described previously, a gradient of X1Hbox 1 protein can be detected in the forelimb. The latter gradient has the opposite polarity to that of Hox-5.2. i.e., maximal in anterior and proximal mesoderm. These two opposing gradients (and possibly others) could be involved in determining positional values in developing limb buds.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Biology