Cloning and Analysis of Axolotl ISL2 and LHX2 LIM-Homeodomain Transcription Factors

Aaron D. Showalter, Benjamin C. Yaden, Ellen A.G. Chernoff, Simon J. Rhodes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


We cloned and characterized the ISL2 and LHX2 LIM-homeodomain transcription factors of the Mexican salamander, or axolotl, Ambystoma mexicanum. Using a degenerate PCR approach, partial cDNAs representing five LIM-homeodomain genes were cloned, indicating conservation of this class of transcription factors in urodeles. Full-length cDNAs for Isl2 and Lhx2 were identified and sequenced. The predicted ISL2 and LHX2 proteins are well conserved, especially in the LIM and DNA-binding domains. The Isl2 and Lhx2 genes are expressed at all examined stages of embryogenesis and display tissue-restricted expression patterns in adults. In functional tests, axolotl LHX2 was inactive compared to homologous mammalian factors and adopted unusual DNA/protein complexes. However, axolotl ISL2 bound and induced transcription from the rat insulin gene. These experiments demonstrate conservation of key developmental regulatory proteins in salamanders and will allow future studies of their potential roles in the molecular regulation of tissue regeneration in such species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-121
Number of pages12
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2004


  • Ambystoma mexicanum
  • Insulin
  • Nervous system
  • Pancreas
  • Pituitary
  • Salamander
  • Urodele

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics

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