Mesoderm-specific expression of the divergent homeobox gene Hlx during murine embryogenesis

Dev Dyn. 1996 Apr;205(4):457-70. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0177(199604)205:4<457::AID-AJA9>3.0.CO;2-H.


We have determined the expression pattern of the divergent homeobox gene Hlx during post-implantation mouse development, utilizing in situ hybridization. Expression was mesoderm-specific and occurred in a complex tissue distribution. Transcripts were first detected at 9.5 days post coitum (p.c.) in splanchnic mesoderm of the midgut and hindgut region, then during organogenesis, prominently in mesenchyme of the developing liver, gall bladder, and intestines, as well as their mesenteric tissues. In the foregut, lung mesenchyme became positive from 10.5 days p.c. Hlx transcripts were also detected in a subset of skeletal myogenic cells: those within branchial arches from 9.5 days p.c. and within limb buds from 12 days p.c. Hlx was not expressed in myogenic cells which are derived from the myotome and populate the trunk. However, from 10 days p.c., expression was seen in a region of the sclerotome immediately adjacent to the myotome and corresponding to precursors of the ribs and vertebral neural arches. In the anterior-posterior aspect of the developing sclerotome, Hlx expression was out of register with original segmental boundaries (intersomitic fissures), a pattern consistent with a classical hypothesis that the developing vertebral column undergoes resegmentation. Hlx expression was also observed in vibrissae, pericardium, snout mesenchyme, and meningeal epithelium. Overall, expression of Hlx in only a subset of individual lineage progenitors and at know sites of inductive tissue interactions, suggests that the gene regulates local patterning or growth through cell:cell signalling at those embryonic sites.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development
  • Gene Expression
  • Genes, Homeobox
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mesoderm / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • Hlx protein, mouse
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Transcription Factors