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Keywords:

  • pelvis development;
  • somatopleure;
  • girdle;
  • Pbx;
  • Emx2;
  • limb;
  • ilium;
  • pubis;
  • ischium;
  • mouse

Abstract

Genes expressed in the somatopleuric mesoderm, the embryonic domain giving rise to the vertebrate pelvis, appear important for pelvic girdle formation. Among such genes, Pbx family members and Emx2 were found to genetically interact in hindlimb and pectoral girdle formation. Here, we generated compound mutant embryos carrying combinations of mutated alleles for Pbx1, Pbx2, and Pbx3, as well as Pbx1 and Emx2, to examine potential genetic interactions during pelvic development. Indeed, Pbx genes share overlapping functions and Pbx1 and Emx2 genetically interact in pelvic formation. We show that, in compound Pbx1;Pbx2 and Pbx1;Emx2 mutants, pelvic mesenchymal condensation is markedly perturbed, indicative of an upstream control by these homeoproteins. We establish that expression of Tbx15, Prrx1, and Pax1, among other genes involved in the specification and development of select pelvic structures, is altered in our compound mutants. Lastly, we identify potential Pbx1-Emx2–regulated enhancers for Tbx15, Prrx1, and Pax1, using bioinformatics analyses. Developmental Dynamics 240:1173–1189, 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.