Expression of anterior Hox genes during larval development of the gastropod Haliotis asinina.

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Abstract or Description

We report the spatial expression patterns of five anterior Hox genes during larval development of the gastropod mollusc Haliotis asinina, an unsegmented spiralian lophotrochozoan. Molecular alignments and phylogenetic analysis indicate that these genes are homologues of Drosophila HOM-C genes labial, proboscipedia, zen, Deformed, and Sex combs reduced; the abalone genes are named Has-Hox1, -Hox2, -Hox3, -Hox4, and -Hox5. Has-Hox transcripts are first detected in the free-swimming trochophore larval stage and restricted to the posttrochal ectoderm. Has-Hox2, -Hox3, and -Hox4 are expressed in bilaterally symmetrical and overlapping patterns in presumptive neuroectodermal cells on the ventral side of the trochophore. Has-Hox1 expression is restricted to a ring of cells on the dorsoposterior surface, corresponding to the outer mantle edge where new larval shell is being synthesized. There appears to be little change in the expression domains of these Has-Hox genes in pre- and posttorsional veliger larvae, with expression maintained in ectodermal and neuroectodermal tissues. Has-Hox2, -Hox3, -Hox4, and-Hox5 appear to be expressed in a colinear manner in the ganglia and connectives in the twisted nervous system. This pattern is not evident in older larvae. Has-Hox1 and-Hox4 are expressed in the margin of the mantle in the posttorsional veliger, suggesting that Hox genes play a role in gastropod shell formation.




Published In

Evolution & development, 5, 5, 508-521.