Patterns & Phenotypes
A function for all posterior Hoxd genes during digit development?
Article first published online: 28 FEB 2012
Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Volume 241, Issue 4, pages 792–802, April 2012
How to Cite
Delpretti, S., Zakany, J. and Duboule, D. (2012), A function for all posterior Hoxd genes during digit development?. Dev. Dyn., 241: 792–802. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.23756
- Issue published online: 12 MAR 2012
- Article first published online: 28 FEB 2012
- Accepted manuscript online: 7 FEB 2012 12:00AM EST
- Manuscript Accepted: 30 JAN 2012
- University of Geneva
- Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale, Lausanne
- Swiss National Research Fund
- National Research Center (NCCR) “Frontiers in Genetics
- European Research Council (ERC)
- Hoxd genes;
- digit development;
- limb morphology
Background: Four posterior Hoxd genes, from Hoxd13 to Hoxd10, are collectively regulated during the development of tetrapod digits. Besides the well-documented role of Hoxd13, the function of the neighboring genes has been difficult to evaluate due to the close genetic linkage and potential regulatory interferences. We used a combination of five small nested deletions in cis, involving from two to four consecutive genes of the Hoxd13 to Hoxd9 loci, in mice, to evaluate their combined functional importance. Results: We show that deletions leading to a gain of function of Hoxd13, via regulatory re-allocation, generate abnormal phenotypes, in agreement with the dominant negative role of this gene. We also show that Hoxd10, Hoxd11, and Hoxd12 all seem to play a genuine role in digit development, though less compelling than that of Hoxd13. In contrast, the nearby Hoxd9 contributed no measurable function in digits. Conclusions: We conclude that a slight and transient deregulation of Hoxd13 expression can readily affect the relative lengths of limb segments and that all posterior Hoxd genes likely contribute to the final limb morphology. We discuss the difficulty to clearly assess the functional share of individual genes within such a gene family, where closely located neighbors, coding for homologous proteins, are regulated by a unique circuitry and all contribute to shape the distal parts of our appendages. Developmental Dynamics 241:792–802, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.