A comparative analysis of Meox1 and Meox2 in the developing somites and limbs of the chick embryo

Int J Dev Biol. 2007;51(8):753-9. doi: 10.1387/ijdb.072332sr.


We have examined the expression pattern of the avian Meox1 homeobox gene during early development and up to late limb bud stages. Its expression pattern indicates that it is involved in somite specification and differentiation. The domains of expression are similar but different to those of Meox2. Meox1 is expressed from stage 6 in the pre-somitic mesoderm and as development proceeds, in the tail bud, the dermomyotome of the rostral somites and in the dermomyotome and sclerotome of the caudal somites, the lateral rectus muscle, truncus arteriosus of the heart and the limb buds. Unlike Meox1, Meox2 is not expressed in the pre-somitic mesoderm, but is expressed first in somites formed from stage 11 onwards. In the developing limb, both genes are expressed in the dorsal and ventral limb mesoderm in adjacent domains with a small region of overlap. In the limb bud, Meox1 is co-expressed with Meox2 but neither Meox gene is co-expressed with MyoD. These expression patterns suggest that these two genes have overlapping and distinct functions in development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning
  • Chick Embryo
  • DNA, Complementary / metabolism
  • Extremities / embryology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Mesoderm / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Somites / metabolism*
  • Species Specificity
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue Distribution


  • DNA, Complementary
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Meox1 protein, mouse
  • Meox2 protein, mouse