Evolving hox activity profiles govern diversity in locomotor systems

Heekyung Jung, Esteban O. Mazzoni, Natalia Soshnikova, Olivia Hanley, Byrappa Venkatesh, Denis Duboule, Jeremy S. Dasen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The emergence of limb-driven locomotor behaviors was a key event in the evolution of vertebrates and fostered the transition from aquatic to terrestrial life. We show that the generation of limb-projecting lateral motor column (LMC) neurons in mice relies on a transcriptional autoregulatory module initiated via transient activity of multiple genes within the HoxA and HoxC clusters. Repression of this module at thoracic levels restricts expression of LMC determinants, thus dictating LMC position relative to the limbs. This suppression is mediated by a key regulatory domain that is specifically found in the Hoxc9 proteins of appendage-bearing vertebrates. The profile of Hoxc9 expression inversely correlates with LMC position in land vertebrates and likely accounts for the absence of LMC neurons in limbless species such as snakes. Thus, modulation of both Hoxc9 protein function and Hoxc9 gene expression likely contributed to evolutionary transitions between undulatory and ambulatory motor circuit connectivity programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-187
Number of pages17
JournalDevelopmental Cell
Volume29
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 28 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Evolving hox activity profiles govern diversity in locomotor systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Jung, H., Mazzoni, E. O., Soshnikova, N., Hanley, O., Venkatesh, B., Duboule, D., & Dasen, J. S. (2014). Evolving hox activity profiles govern diversity in locomotor systems. Developmental Cell, 29(2), 171-187. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.devcel.2014.03.008