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Negre, B., Casillas, S., Suzanne, M., Sanchez-Herrero, E., Akam, M., Nefedov, M., Barbadilla, A., de Jong, P., Ruiz, A. (2005). Conservation of regulatory sequences and gene expression patterns in the disintegrating Drosophila Hox complex.  Genome Res. 15(): 692--700.
FlyBase ID
FBrf0186123
Publication Type
Research paper
Abstract

Homeotic (Hox) genes are usually clustered and arranged in the same order as they are expressed along the anteroposterior body axis of metazoans. The mechanistic explanation for this colinearity has been elusive, and it may well be that a single and universal cause does not exist. The Hox-gene complex (HOM-C) has been rearranged differently in several Drosophila species, producing a striking diversity of Hox gene organizations. We investigated the genomic and functional consequences of the two HOM-C splits present in Drosophila buzzatii. Firstly, we sequenced two regions of the D. buzzatii genome, one containing the genes labial and abdominal A, and another one including proboscipedia, and compared their organization with that of D. melanogaster and D. pseudoobscura in order to map precisely the two splits. Then, a plethora of conserved noncoding sequences, which are putative enhancers, were identified around the three Hox genes closer to the splits. The position and order of these enhancers are conserved, with minor exceptions, between the three Drosophila species. Finally, we analyzed the expression patterns of the same three genes in embryos and imaginal discs of four Drosophila species with different Hox-gene organizations. The results show that their expression patterns are conserved despite the HOM-C splits. We conclude that, in Drosophila, Hox-gene clustering is not an absolute requirement for proper function. Rather, the organization of Hox genes is modular, and their clustering seems the result of phylogenetic inertia more than functional necessity.

PubMed ID
PubMed Central ID
PMC1088297 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
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Secondary IDs
    Language of Publication
    English
    Additional Languages of Abstract
    Parent Publication
    Publication Type
    Journal
    Abbreviation
    Genome Res.
    Title
    Genome Research
    Publication Year
    1995-
    ISBN/ISSN
    1088-9051
    Data From Reference