Developmental biology

Brpf1, a subunit of the MOZ histone acetyl transferase complex, maintains expression of anterior and posterior Hox genes for proper patterning of craniofacial and caudal skeletons.

PMID 19254709


The epigenetic mechanism involving chromatin modification plays a critical role in the maintenance of the expression of Hox genes. Here, we characterize a mutant of the medaka fish, named biaxial symmetries (bis), in which brpf1, a subunit of the MOZ histone acetyl transferase (HAT) complex, is mutated. The bis mutant displayed patterning defects both in the anterior-posterior axis of the craniofacial skeleton and the dorsal-ventral axis of the caudal one. In the anterior region, the bis mutant exhibited craniofacial cartilage homeosis. The expression of Hox genes was decreased in the pharyngeal arches, suggesting that the pharyngeal segmental identities were altered in the bis mutant. In the posterior region, the bis mutant exhibited abnormal patterning of the caudal skeleton, which ectopically formed at the dorsal side of the caudal fin. The expression of Zic genes was decreased at the posterior region, suggesting that the dorsal-ventral axis formation of the posterior trunk was disrupted in the bis mutant. We also found that the MOZ-deficient mice exhibited an abnormal patterning of their craniofacial and cervical skeletons and a decrease of Hox transcripts. We propose a common role of the MOZ HAT complex in vertebrates, a complex which is required for the proper patterning for skeletal development.