Comparative analysis of vertebrate posterior HoxD clusters: atypical cluster architecture in the caecilian

An Mannaert, Chris Amemiya, Franky Bossuyt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingMeeting abstract (Book)

Abstract

The posterior genes of the HoxD cluster play a crucial role in the patterning of the tetrapod limb. During limb development, the posterior HoxD genes are under the control of a global, long-range enhancer that is present in all vertebrates. We sequenced the posterior end of the HoxD cluster (from Evx-2 to Hoxd-10) of a caecilian (a limbless amphibian) in order to perform comparative analyses of this region using other vertebrate HoxD cluster sequences. We determined the presence of evolutionarily conserved noncoding sequences and traced gains and losses of these phylogenetic footprints during vertebrate evolution, while focusing on amphibians, a lineage with a large variety of limb types. At least one and possibly two conserved non-coding sequences were lost in the ancestor of all living amphibians. We also found that the caecilian HoxD cluster is almost three times larger than its mammalian counterpart and that it has experienced the loss of one gene accompanied with an accumulation of inverted and interspersed repeats in that area. A similar event occurred in the coelacanth and snakes. In each case, the cluster enlargement may influence the action of the long-range enhancer on the genes located after the void. Therefore it is possible that body elongation and limb loss in caecilians and snakes are the result of parallel evolutionary changes in the same genetic mechanism.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSMBE Meeting, 2-8 June 2010, Lyon: Poster
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventFinds and Results from the Swedish Cyprus Expedition: A Gender Perspective at the Medelhavsmuseet - Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: 21 Sep 200925 Sep 2009

Publication series

NameSMBE Meeting, 2-8 June 2010, Lyon: Poster

Conference

ConferenceFinds and Results from the Swedish Cyprus Expedition: A Gender Perspective at the Medelhavsmuseet
CountrySweden
CityStockholm
Period21/09/0925/09/09

Keywords

  • HoxD cluster
  • amphibians
  • comparative genomics

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