The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 62: 685 - 692 (2018)

Vol 62, Issue 11-12

Special Issue: Homeobox genes

The remote transcriptional control of Hox genes

Published: 12 December 2018

Claudia Gentile1,2 and Marie Kmita*,1,2,3

1Laboratory of Genetics and Development, Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montréal (IRCM), 2 Division of Experimental Medicine, McGill University and 3 Department of Medicine, University of Montreal, Montréal, Qc, Canada


Since the discovery by Ed Lewis that the order of Hox genes on the chromosome reflects the partitioning of their patterning function along the anterior-posterior axis of the developing fruit fly embryo, extensive efforts have been dedicated to uncovering the regulatory events underlying the collinear expression of Hox genes. These studies have revealed various aspects of Hox regulation, including short-range and long-range transcriptional enhancers, insulator elements and non-coding RNAs. With the development of technologies allowing for high resolution probing of chromatin architecture, notably Chromosome Conformation Capture (3C)-based techniques, a clear relationship is emerging between long-range regulation of Hox genes and the three-dimensional organization of the genome. Here, we provide an overview of these studies and in particular we discuss the functional relevance of genome compartmentalization, CTCF- mediated insulation and the Polycomb Repressive Complexes in the remote control of Hox genes.


Hox gene, long-range regulation, chromatin conformation, TAD, polycomb group protein

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