The Rhox genes

Reproduction. 2010 Aug;140(2):195-213. doi: 10.1530/REP-10-0100. Epub 2010 Apr 29.


Homeobox genes encode transcription factors that have crucial roles in embryogenesis. A recently discovered set of homeobox genes--the Rhox genes--are expressed during both embryogenesis and in adult reproductive tissues. The 33 known mouse Rhox genes are clustered together in a single region on the X chromosome, while likely descendents of the primodial Rhox cluster, Arx and Esx1, have moved to other positions on the X chromosome. Here, we summarize what is known about the regulation and function of Rhox cluster and Rhox-related genes during embryogenesis and gametogenesis. The founding member of the Rhox gene cluster--Rhox5 (previously known as Pem)--has been studied in the most depth and thus is the focus of this review. We also discuss the unusually rapid evolution of the Rhox gene cluster.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Embryonic Development / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gametogenesis / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Genes, Homeobox*
  • Mice
  • Multigene Family*
  • Pregnancy
  • Transcription Factors / genetics


  • Transcription Factors