The caudal-related (Cdx) homeodomain transcription factors have a conserved role in the development of posterior structures in both vertebrates and invertebrates. A particularly interesting finding is that Cdx proteins have an important function in the regulation of expression from a subset of Hox genes. In this study, we report the cloning of cDNAs from the Cdx genes of the amphibian Xenopus tropicalis. Xenopus tropicalis is a diploid species, related to the commonly used laboratory animal Xenopus laevis, and has attracted attention recently as a potential genetic model for animal development. The Xenopus tropicalis cDNAs, Xtcad1, Xtcad2, and Xtcad3, show between 88 and 94% sequence identity with their Xenopus laevis orthologues. This finding corresponds to between 90 and 95% identity at the level of derived amino acid sequence. We also present a detailed description of Xtcad1, Xtcad2, and Xtcad3 expression during normal development. In common with the Cdx genes of other vertebrates, the Xenopus tropicalis Cdx genes show overlapping and dynamic patterns of expression in posterior regions of the embryo through the early stages of development.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.