Cloning and expression analysis of the anterior parahox genes, Gsh1 and Gsh2 from Xenopus tropicalis



Gsx class proteins are members of the ParaHox homeodomain transcription factor family with conserved roles in specification and patterning of the nervous system. We report the cloning of two Gsx genes, Gsh1 and Gsh2, from the frog Xenopus tropicalis. We demonstrate the existence of a single, intact Xenopus ParaHox cluster, containing Gsh1, Pdx, and Cdx2, plus three degenerate clusters containing Gsh2, Cdx1, and Cdx4. Anterior expression boundaries of genes from the intact ParaHox cluster are co-linear with respect to their genomic organization. We show that Gsh1 and Gsh2 exhibit complex, overlapping patterns of expression within the anterior nervous system from open neural plate stages. We also find that expression of Gsh2, Nkx6, and Msx1 across the medio-lateral axis of the amphibian neural plate is strikingly similar to that of related genes in the Drosophila neuroectoderm. These findings provide further evidence for a conserved pathway regulating dorso-ventral patterning in the Bilateria. Developmental Dynamics 238:194–203, 2009. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.