Expression of trunk Hox genes in the centipede Strigamia maritima: Sense and anti-sense transcripts

Carlo Brena*, Ariel D. Chipman, Alessandro Minelli, Michael Akam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


We report the coding sequence and embryonic expression of the four trunk Hox genes Antennapedia (Antp), Ultrabithorax (Ubx), abdominal-A (abd-A), and Abdominal-B (Abd-B) in the geophilomorph centipede Strigamia maritima. In geophilomorph centipedes, all leg-bearing segments (LBS) are generated during embryogenesis, allowing us to define expression in relation to the full extent of the forming trunk. Persistent Antp expression characterizes the maxillipedal (poison claw) segment, whereas all LBS express the three Hox genes Antp, Ubx, and abd-A. Abd-B is never detectably expressed in segmented tissue, but is restricted to a zone around the proctodaeum that contributes to the hindgut. Expression of all these Hox genes initiates in the unsegmented tissue of the blastodisc, with expression of Antp respecting a sharply defined anterior border before the appearance of morphological segmentation in the trunk. The accumulation of Hox gene transcripts is strongly modulated by the maturing segment pattern, suggesting regulatory interactions with multiple levels of the segment patterning machinery. For one of these genes, Ubx, we detect both sense and anti-sense transcripts. The anti-sense transcripts originate 3′ to the Ubx coding sequence and overlap the homeobox exon; they are expressed earlier than the Ubx coding transcripts and persistently, in an axially restricted pattern comparable to but distinct from those of the Hox coding transcripts. The pattern of accumulation of Ubx sense and anti-sense transcripts is strikingly complementary, suggesting the possibility of anti-sense regulation of Ubx expression.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)252-265
Number of pages14
JournalEvolution and Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2006
Externally publishedYes


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