Dissection of cis-regulatory elements in the C. elegans Hox gene egl-5 promoter

Yingqi Teng, Lisa Girard, Henrique B. Ferreira, Paul W. Sternberg, Scott W. Emmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Hox genes are highly conserved segmental identity genes well known for their complex expression patterns and divergent targets. Here we present an analysis of cis-regulatory elements in the Caenorhabditis elegans Hox gene egl-5, which is expressed in multiple tissues in the posterior region of the nematode. We have utilized phylogenetic footprinting to efficiently identify cis-regulatory elements and have characterized these with gfp reporters and tissue-specific rescue experiments. We have found that the complex expression pattern of egl-5 is the cumulative result of the activities of multiple tissue or local region-specific activator sequences that are conserved both in sequence and near-perfect order in the related nematode Caenorhabditis briggsae. Two conserved regulatory blocks analyzed in detail contain multiple sites for both positively and negatively acting factors. One of these regions may promote activation of egl-5 in certain cells via the Wnt pathway. Positively acting regions are repressed in inappropriate tissues by additional negative pathways acting at other sites within the promoter. Our analysis has allowed us to implicate several new regulatory factors significant to the control of egl-5 expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)476-492
Number of pages17
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 15 2004


  • C. elegans
  • Hox
  • Phylogenetic footprinting
  • cis-Regulatory elements
  • egl-5

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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