Is there a Brachyury the Second? Analysis of a transgenic mutation involved in notochord maintenance in mice

Dev Biol. 1995 Nov;172(1):206-17. doi: 10.1006/dbio.1995.0016.


A new phenotype mapping to the t-complex, which is designated Brachyury the Second (T2), is characterized by a slightly shortened tail in heterozygotes and homozygous failure to form an organized notochord with subsequent abnormal development of posterior somites and neural tube. The phenotype of T2 superficially resembles that of Brachyury; however, there are several important differences. Brachyury homozygotes fail to make posterior somites, notochord, floor plate, and a placental connection, resulting in death by 10.5 days of development. In contrast, T2 homozygotes make posterior somites, scattered notochord cells, and floorplate and achieve an allantoic connection. However, despite making a maternal connection, T2 homozygotes cease development at E11.5 and die soon after. We have cloned and analyzed the transgene insertion site, which maps within 100 kb of the Brachyury gene, but does not seem to physically interrupt nor affect transcription from that locus. The existence of a second gene mapping near Brachyury and affecting the same developmental processes was alluded to over 50 years ago and has been debated ever since. An embryological description of T2 is presented, as is a discussion of the implications of a single, larger Brachyury locus versus two closely linked genes coordinately regulating axial development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • DNA / chemistry
  • DNA / isolation & purification
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Embryo, Mammalian / physiology
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development*
  • Fetal Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Fetal Proteins / genetics*
  • Gene Expression
  • Genes, Lethal*
  • Genes, MHC Class I
  • H-2 Antigens / biosynthesis
  • H-2 Antigens / genetics*
  • Heterozygote
  • Homozygote
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred CBA
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Notochord / physiology*
  • Phenotype
  • Restriction Mapping
  • Sequence Deletion*
  • T-Box Domain Proteins*


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Fetal Proteins
  • H-2 Antigens
  • H-2Kb protein, mouse
  • T-Box Domain Proteins
  • DNA
  • Brachyury protein