Hox-7 expression during murine craniofacial development

Alasdair MacKenzie, mark Ferguson, Paul T Sharpe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

137 Citations (Scopus)


We have used in situ hybridisation to establish the temporal and spatial expression patterns of the mouse homeobox-containing gene; Hox-7, in the developing embryonic cranium and nervous system of the mouse between embryonic days 9.5 (E9.5) and E15.5. Hox-7 has previously been associated with areas of mesenchymal-epithelial interaction and cell migration especially in neural crest ectomesenchymal cells. Aside from the expression patterns seen in the facial anlage at E9.5, Hox-7 transcripts were also detected in the neuroepithelium including cells of the dorsal midline of the neural tube. This expression pattern persisted throughout the embryonic time span studied. At E11.5, expression of Hox-7 became obvious in the neuroepithelium of the forming tela choroida and the telencephelii in areas destined to form the choroid plexus before any atrophy of the neuroepithelium took place. High expression of Hox-7 was also present in the mesenchyme cells invading the pouch formed by the involuting choroid plexus neuroepithelium. A second major site where Hox-7 was expressed was the anlage of the anterior pituitary; the Rathke's pouch. Expression became obvious at E10.5 throughout the pouch but by E12.5 became more regionalised in areas of the pouch destined to form the pars distalis. Hox-7 was also expressed in the forming meninges and skull bone precursors from E10.5 onwards. Expression of the Hox-7 gene is also seen in the external ear, the forming eye, the nasal pits and forming Jacobson's organs. When these expression patterns are considered together with characterised human and mouse retinoic acid embryopathies and the congenital malformations seen in human children associated with deletion of chromosome 4p16.1 (Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome), Hox-7 may be a good candidate as one of the genes involved in the initiation of the choroid plexus phenotype and its subsequent formation, the formation of the outer ear, formation of the dentition and the differentiation of the cell types of the anterior pituitary. The expression pattern of Hox-7 in the dorsal midline of the neural tube further suggests that it may also be involved in the specification of the dorsal-ventral axis of the developing nervous system.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1685989
Pages (from-to)601-611
Number of pages11
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1991


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