This study reports the expression domains of two murine HOX gene members of the HOX-5 complex (Hox-5.2, Hox-5.3). These two genes have very similar homeodomain sequences, as well as temporal and spatial specificities of expression. They are both expressed at very posterior levels in the central nervous system, in sclerotome derivatives and in a few internal organs. In addition to these expression domains which are shared with other HOX genes, transcripts from both Hox-5.2 and Hox-5.3 are present at high levels in developing limbs. After an early homogeneous expression in mesodermal limb bud cells, transcription becomes restricted to cartilage-differentiating cells. In addition, Hox-5.2 is a marker for gonadal development. The possible involvement of such genes during inductive processes or organogenesis is discussed.