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Gene Review

HOXA13  -  homeobox A13

Gallus gallus

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High impact information on HOXA13

  • To elucidate the function of Hoxa-13 that is expressed in the autopod during normal limb development, Hoxa-13 was misexpressed in the entire limb bud with a replication-competent retroviral system [1].
  • Misexpression of Hoxa-13 resulted in a remarkable size reduction of the zeugopodal cartilages as a result of the arrest of cartilage cell growth and differentiation restricted in the zeugopod [1].
  • These results indicate that Hoxa-13 is responsible for switching the genetic code from long bone formation to short bone formation during normal development [1].
  • Administration of BMP-2 at the anterior margin of the limb bud induced ectopic HOXA-13 expression in the anterior region of the muscle masses followed by ectopic muscle formation close to the source of exogenous BMP-2 [2].
  • We found that HOXA-13 expression in the autopodal mesenchyme was dependent on the AER but not on the polarizing region, whereas expression of HOXA-13 in the posterior muscle masses was dependent on the polarizing region but not on the AER [2].

Biological context of HOXA13


Anatomical context of HOXA13

  • Under the influence of the limb mesenchyme, Hoxa-11 is expressed in migrating and proliferating premyoblasts in the limb field and Hoxa-13 is induced in subdomains of congregated limb muscle masses [3].
  • Forced expression of Hoxa-13 resulted in more pronounced repression of MyoD in both limb and C2C12 myoblasts [3].
  • Misexpression of Hoxa-13 induces cartilage homeotic transformation and changes cell adhesiveness in chick limb buds [1].

Associations of HOXA13 with chemical compounds

  • In contrast, targeted disruption of Hoxa-13 gave rise to enhanced expression of MyoD in the flexor carpi radialis muscle, a forearm muscle that normally expressed Hoxa-13 [3].

Regulatory relationships of HOXA13

  • These results suggested that HOXA-13 expression in the posterior muscle masses is activated by the posteriorizing signal from the posterior mesenchyme via BMP-2 [2].

Other interactions of HOXA13

  • Thus, mesenchymal HOXA-13 expression was independent of BMP-2 from polarizing region, but was under the control of as yet unidentified signals from the AER [2].
  • The expression of Hoxd-12, Hoxd-13 and Hoxa-13 genes was maintained in the recombinants, indicating that these cells carry information about their autopodial origin, and this correlates well with their distal restricted morphogenetic potential [4].
  • Contrary to the model, addition of FGF4 to early limb buds does not activate Hoxa13 prematurely nor extend the Hoxa13 expression domain proximally [5].


  1. Misexpression of Hoxa-13 induces cartilage homeotic transformation and changes cell adhesiveness in chick limb buds. Yokouchi, Y., Nakazato, S., Yamamoto, M., Goto, Y., Kameda, T., Iba, H., Kuroiwa, A. Genes Dev. (1995) [Pubmed]
  2. Distinct signaling molecules control Hoxa-11 and Hoxa-13 expression in the muscle precursor and mesenchyme of the chick limb bud. Hashimoto, K., Yokouchi, Y., Yamamoto, M., Kuroiwa, A. Development (1999) [Pubmed]
  3. Hoxa-11 and Hoxa-13 are involved in repression of MyoD during limb muscle development. Yamamoto, M., Kuroiwa, A. Dev. Growth Differ. (2003) [Pubmed]
  4. Morphogenetic potential of the chick leg interdigital mesoderm when diverted from the cell death program. Ros, M.A., Piedra, M.E., Fallon, J.F., Hurle, J.M. Dev. Dyn. (1997) [Pubmed]
  5. Characterisation of hoxa gene expression in the chick limb bud in response to FGF. Vargesson, N., Kostakopoulou, K., Drossopoulou, G., Papageorgiou, S., Tickle, C. Dev. Dyn. (2001) [Pubmed]
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