Jun 13, 2016

Brachiopods possess a split Hox cluster with signs of spatial, but not temporal collinearity

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Sabrina M. SchiemannAndreas Hejnol


Hox genes are often clustered in animal genomes and exhibit spatial and/or temporal collinearity. It is generally believed that temporal collinearity is the major force preserving Hox clusters. However, studies combining genomic and gene expression analyses of Hox genes are scarce, particularly within Spiralia and Lophotrochozoa (e.g. mollusks, segmented worms, and flatworms). Here, we use two brachiopod species --Terebratalia transversa and Novocrania anomala-- that respectively belong to the two major brachiopod lineages to characterize their Hox complement, the presence of a Hox cluster, and the temporal and spatial expression of their Hox genes. We demonstrate that the Hox complement consists of ten Hox genes in T. transversa (lab, pb, Hox3, dfd, scr, lox5, antp, lox4, post2 and post1) and nine in N. anomala (missing post1). Additionally, T. transversa has an ordered, split Hox cluster. Expression analyses reveal that Hox genes are neither temporally nor spatially collinear, and only the genes pb (in T. transversa), Hox3 and dfd (in both brachiopods) show staggered expression in the mesoderm. Remarkably, lab, scr, antp and post1 are associated with the development of the chaetae and shell-forming epithelium, as also observe...Continue Reading

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