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Gene Review

Rhox1  -  reproductive homeobox 1

Mus musculus

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High impact information on Rhox1

  • Rhox: a new homeobox gene cluster [1].
  • These reproductive homeobox on the X chromosome (Rhox) genes are expressed in a cell type-specific manner; several are hormonally regulated, and their expression pattern during postnatal testis development corresponds to their chromosomal position [1].
  • Most of the Rhox genes are expressed in Sertoli cells, the nurse cells in direct contact with developing male germ cells, suggesting that they regulate the expression of somatic-cell gene products critical for germ cell development [1].
  • Inactivation of both Dnmt3a and Dnmt3b, DNA methyltransferases essential for the initiation of de novo DNA methylation, abolished the establishment of DNA methylation and the silencing of Rhox cluster genes in the embryo proper [2].
  • In this report, we show that CpG islands associated with the X-linked homeobox gene cluster Rhox, which is highly expressed in the extraembryonic trophectoderm, are differentially methylated in a stage- and lineage-specific manner during the post-implantation development of mice [2].

Biological context of Rhox1

  • The Dnmt3-dependent CpG-island methylation at the Rhox locus extended for a large genomic region ( approximately 1 Mb) containing the Rhox cluster and surrounding genes [2].
  • Several families of homeobox genes are arranged in genomic clusters in metazoan genomes, including the Hox, ParaHox, NK, Rhox, and Iroquois gene clusters [3].
  • We here report the identification of 18 additional Rhox genes and 3 pseudogenes in mice [4].
  • Positive selection promoting amino acid substitutions was detected in some young Rhox genes, suggesting adaptive functional diversification [4].
  • The expression pattern of Rhox genes during postnatal testis development corresponds to their chromosomal position, much like the colinear gene regulation of the Hox gene clusters during animal embryonic development [4].

Anatomical context of Rhox1

  • In contrast to reproductive tissues, we found no evidence of colinear expression of the Rhox alpha cluster during thymus development [5].
  • A murine specific expansion of the Rhox cluster involved in embryonic stem cell biology is under natural selection [6].


  1. Rhox: a new homeobox gene cluster. Maclean, J.A., Chen, M.A., Wayne, C.M., Bruce, S.R., Rao, M., Meistrich, M.L., Macleod, C., Wilkinson, M.F. Cell (2005) [Pubmed]
  2. DNA methylation regulates long-range gene silencing of an X-linked homeobox gene cluster in a lineage-specific manner. Oda, M., Yamagiwa, A., Yamamoto, S., Nakayama, T., Tsumura, A., Sasaki, H., Nakao, K., Li, E., Okano, M. Genes Dev. (2006) [Pubmed]
  3. Breakup of a homeobox cluster after genome duplication in teleosts. Mulley, J.F., Chiu, C.H., Holland, P.W. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2006) [Pubmed]
  4. Remarkable expansions of an X-linked reproductive homeobox gene cluster in rodent evolution. Wang, X., Zhang, J. Genomics (2006) [Pubmed]
  5. Identification of a tandem duplicated array in the Rhox alpha locus on mouse chromosome X. Morris, L., Gordon, J., Blackburn, C.C. Mamm. Genome (2006) [Pubmed]
  6. A murine specific expansion of the Rhox cluster involved in embryonic stem cell biology is under natural selection. Jackson, M., Watt, A.J., Gautier, P., Gilchrist, D., Driehaus, J., Graham, G.J., Keebler, J., Prugnolle, F., Awadalla, P., Forrester, L.M. BMC Genomics (2006) [Pubmed]
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