Development Genes and Evolution

, Volume 218, Issue 6, pp 333–339 | Cite as

Expression of homothorax and extradenticle mRNA in the legs of the crustacean Parhyale hawaiensis: evidence for a reversal of gene expression regulation in the pancrustacean lineage

  • Nikola-Michael Prpic
  • Maximilian J. Telford
Short Communication


In Drosophila leg development, the extradenticle (exd) gene is expressed ubiquitously and its co-factor homothorax (hth) is restricted to the proximal leg portion. This condition is conserved in other insect species but is reversed in chelicerates and myriapods. As the region of co-expression does not differ in the two groups and transcripts from both are necessary for function, this difference in expression is likely to be functionally neutral. Here, we report the expression patterns of exd and hth in a crustacean, the amphipod shrimp Parhyale hawaiensis. The patterns in P. hawaiensis are similar to the insect patterns, supporting the close relationship between crustaceans and insects in the taxon Tetraconata. However, mRNA expression of exd in P. hawaiensis is weak in the distal leg parts, thus being intermediate between the complete lack of distal exd expression in chelicerates and myriapods and the strong distal exd expression in insects. Our data suggest that the reversal of the gene expression regulation of hth and exd occurred in the pancrustacean lineage.


Arthropod phylogeny Gene expression regulation Extradenticle Homothorax Appendage development 



We thank Cassandra Extavour and Tassos Pavlopoulos for their help with establishing the P. hawaiensis stock at UCL. This work has been funded by a BBSRC grant to MJT (grant number BBS/B/0675X).

Open Access

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Developmental Biology, GZMB New BuildingGeorg-August-University Goettingen, Johann-Friedrich-Blumenbach Institute for Zoology and AnthropologyGoettingenGermany
  2. 2.Department of Biology, Darwin BuildingUniversity College LondonLondonUK

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