Anf: A novel class of vertebrate homeobox genes expressed at the anterior end of the main embryonic axis

Olga V. Kazanskaya, Elena A. Severtzova, K. Anukampa Barth, Galina V. Ermakova, Sergey A. Lukyanov, Alex O. Benyumov, Maria Pannese, Edoardo Boncinelli, Stephen W. Wilson, Andrey G. Zaraisky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Five novel genes homologous to the homeobox-containing genes Xanf-1 and Xanf-2 of Xenopus and Hesx-1/Rpx of mouse have been identified as a result of a PCR survey of cDNA in sturgeon, zebrafish, newt, chicken and human. Comparative analysis of the homeodomain primary structure of these genes revealed that they belong to a novel class of homeobox genes, which we name Anf. All genes of this class investigated so far have similar patterns of expression during early embryogenesis, characterized by maximal transcript levels being present at the anterior extremity of the main embryonic body axis. The data obtained also suggest that, despite considerable high structural divergence between their homeodomains, all known Anf genes may be orthologues, and thus represent one of the most quickly evolving classes of vertebrate homeobox genes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-34
Number of pages10
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Oct 24 1997

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Oleg Vasiliev for technical assistance and fruitful discussions. We are also grateful to Anna Stornaiouolo, Antonello Mallamaci and Giovanni Lavorgna and Dominic Delaney for providing expert advice. We thank the Telethon Institute of Genetics and Medicine (TIGEM) for supplying the NT2/D1 library. This work was supported by grants from the Russian Human Genome Project, the Russian Foundation for Fundamental Investigations (95-04-11320a and 97-04-49883), and INTAS (95-IN-RU-1152) and Wellcome Trust funding to S.W. O.V.K. was supported by an EMBO East European fellowship.


  • Embryo
  • Forebrain patterning
  • Homeobox genes


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