The murine Lbx2 gene is a member of the ladybird family of homeobox genes, which is expressed in the developing urogenital system, eye, and brain. Using transgenic mice, we demonstrate that 9 kb of the 5′ flanking region of mouse Lbx2 is able to direct expression of a reporter gene in a tissue-specific manner recapitulating the endogenous expression pattern. This regulatory region provides a novel reagent allowing for transgenic expression in the developing urogenital ridge. In addition, we describe the identification of the human homologue, LBX2. Comparison of the human LBX2 and mouse Lbx2 sequences upstream of the coding regions reveals sequence conservation suggesting conserved regulatory regions. Both the human LBX2 and the mouse Lbx2 genes have similar genomic structures and are composed of two exons separated by an intron. We mapped the mouse Lbx2 gene to 35 cM on chromosome 6 and the human LBX2 gene to a homologous region of chromosome 2p13. This is a candidate region for several inherited disorders, including Alström syndrome, a disorder that includes ocular, urogenital, and renal abnormalities. Given the expression pattern of Lbx2, the chromosomal location in humans, and the potential function of mammalian ladybird genes, we have begun to analyze patients with ocular disorders and those with Alström syndrome for mutations in LBX2. Although polymorphisms were identified, our results indicate that mutations in the coding region of LBX2 do not account for Alström syndrome in the six kindreds analyzed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes