Hox codes and positional specification in vertebrate embryonic axes

Annu Rev Cell Biol. 1992;8:227-56. doi: 10.1146/annurev.cb.08.110192.001303.


We have compared the ways in which vertebrate Hox genes are used in the patterning of three distinct embryonic contexts, the branchial region, the somites, and the limb. We have identified common features of the three systems, but have suggested on the basis of their differences (in both embryological properties and use of Hox genes) that it is better to consider each as an independent system for regional specification. Nevertheless, there are sufficient common features to expect that exploitation of the distinct experimental advantages of each system will provide important insights to the mode of operation of the others.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antennapedia Homeodomain Protein
  • Branchial Region / embryology
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Drosophila melanogaster / embryology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Embryo, Mammalian / ultrastructure*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / ultrastructure
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development / genetics*
  • Extremities / embryology
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genes, Homeobox*
  • Homeodomain Proteins*
  • Mesoderm
  • Morphogenesis / genetics*
  • Multigene Family
  • Nuclear Proteins*
  • Rhombencephalon / embryology
  • Transcription Factors*
  • Vertebrates / embryology
  • Vertebrates / genetics*


  • Antennapedia Homeodomain Protein
  • Antp protein, Drosophila
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Transcription Factors