Hox gene colinear expression in the avian medulla oblongata is correlated with pseudorhombomeric domains

Faustino Marín, Pilar Aroca, Luis Puelles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The medulla oblongata (or caudal hindbrain) is not overtly segmented, since it lacks observable interrhombomeric boundaries. However, quail-chick fate maps showed that it is formed by 5 pseudorhombomeres (r7-r11) which were empirically found to be delimited consistently at planes crossing through adjacent somites (Cambronero and Puelles, 2000). We aimed to reexamine the possible segmentation or rostrocaudal regionalisation of this brain region attending to molecular criteria. To this end, we studied the expression of Hox genes from groups 3 to 7 correlative to the differentiating nuclei of the medulla oblongata. Our results show that these genes are differentially expressed in the mature medulla oblongata, displaying instances of typical antero-posterior (3' to 5') Hox colinearity. The different sensory and motor columns, as well as the reticular formation, appear rostrocaudally regionalised according to spaced steps in their Hox expression pattern. The anterior limits of the respective expression domains largely fit boundaries defined between the experimental pseudorhombomeres. Therefore the medulla oblongata shows a Hox-related rostrocaudal molecular regionalisation comparable to that found among rhombomeres, and numerically consistent with the pseudorhombomere list. This suggests that medullary pseudorhombomeres share some AP patterning mechanisms with the rhombomeres present in the rostral, overtly-segmented hindbrain, irrespective of variant boundary properties.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-47
Number of pages18
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2008

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Animals
  • Chick Embryo
  • Chickens
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Genes, Homeobox
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Medulla Oblongata
  • Organ Specificity


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