Human HOX genes are differentially activated by retinoic acid in embryonal carcinoma cells according to their position within the four loci

Anna Stornaiuolo, Dario Acampora, Maria Pannese, Maurizio D'Esposito, Franco Morelli, Enrica Migliaccio, Marco Rambaldi, Antonio Faiella, Vincenzo Nigro, Antonio Simeone, Edoardo Boncinelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We studied the expression of 33 human homeobox genes belonging to four complex HOX loci in embryonal carcinoma NT2/D1 cells. These cells can be induced to differentiate by culturing them in media containing retinoic acid. Northern blot analysis reveals that no expression of these genes was detectable in NT2/D1 stem cells, whereas 22 HOX genes are well expressed in NT2/D1 cells treated with 10 μM retinoic acid for 14 days. The 11 HOX genes the expression of which remained undetectable in NT2/D1 cells after this treatment are located at the 5′ end of their loci: four in HOX1, five in HOX3 and two in HOX4. The boundary between induced and silent genes roughly corresponds to the HOX genes constituting the homology group 5, related to the Abdominal-B homeotic gene of Drosophila. All nine identified HOX2 genes are well expressed in fully induced NT2/D1 cells and none of them maps 5′ genes of this homology group. We conclude that HOX genes are differentially activated by retinoic acid in these cells according to their physical location within the four chromosomal loci.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-127
Number of pages9
JournalCell Differentiation and Development
Volume31
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1990

Keywords

  • Embryonal carcinoma cell
  • HOX gene
  • Human
  • Loci position
  • Retinoic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology

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