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Development November 1, 1995; 121 (11): 3889-99.

tinman, a Drosophila homeobox gene required for heart and visceral mesoderm specification, may be represented by a family of genes in vertebrates: XNkx-2.3, a second vertebrate homologue of tinman.

Evans SM , Yan W , Murillo MP , Ponce J , Papalopulu N .

tinman is a Drosophila Nk-homeobox gene required for heart and visceral mesoderm specification. Mutations in tinman result in lack of formation of the Drosophila heart, the dorsal vessel. We have isolated an Nk-homeobox gene from Xenopus laevis, XNkx-2.3, which appears by sequence homology and expression pattern to be a homologue of tinman. The expression pattern of XNKx-2.3 both during development and in adult tissues partially overlaps with that of another tinman homologue, Csx/NKx-2.5/XNkx-2.5. We have found that embryonic expression of both XNkx-2.3 and XNkx-2.5 is induced at a time when cardiac specification is occurring. XNkx-2.3 is expressed in early cardiac primordia before the expression of a marker of cardiac differentiation. XMLC2, as well as in pharyngeal endoderm. In adult tissues, XNkx-2.3 is expressed in the heart and several visceral organs. As the helix-loop-helix factor Twist is thought to regulate tinman expression in Drosophila, we have compared the expression of XNkx-2.3 and Xtwist during embryonic development in Xenopus. There appears to be no overlap in expression patterns of the two RNAs from the neurulae stages onward, the first time at which the RNAs can be visualized by in situ hybridization. The overlapping expression patterns of XNkx-2.3 and mNkx-2.5/XNkx-2.5 in conjunction with evidence presented here that other Nk-homeodomains are expressed in adult mouse and Xenopus heart suggests that tinman may be represented by a family of genes in vertebrates.

PubMed ID: 8582297
Article link: Development
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: myl2 nkx2-3 nkx2-5 nkx3-1 tac1 tbx2 twist1

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