The HOX Gene Cluster in the Bivalve Mollusc Mytilus galloprovincialis
The clustered Hox genes play a central role in the regulation of development in bilaterian animals. In this study, we analyzed the homeobox-containing genes in a bivalve mollusc, the mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis, an unsegmented spiralian lophotrochozoan. We isolated and characterized four Hox cluster genes using the polymerase chain reaction with specific primers. Molecular alignments and phylogenetic analysis indicate that these mussel genes are homologs of the anterior group (pb ortholog), paralog group 3, and central group (PG4/Dfd and PG5/Scr) genes. The putative homeodomain sequences were designated Mgox1, Mgox2, Mgox3, and Mgox4.