Isolation and expression of Pax6 and atonal homologues in the American horseshoe crab, Limulus polyphemus

David C. Blackburn, Kevin W. Conley, David C. Plachetzki, Karen Kempler, Barbara Anne Battelle, Nadean L Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Pax6 regulates eye development in many animals. In addition, Pax6 activates atonal transcription factors in both invertebrate and vertebrate eyes. Here, we investigate the roles of Pax6 and atonal during embryonic development of Limulus polyphemus rudimentary lateral, medial and ventral eyes, and the initiation of lateral ommatidial eye and medial ocelli formation. Limulus eye development is of particular interest because these animals hold a unique position in arthropod phylogeny and possess multiple eye types. Furthermore, the molecular underpinnings of eye development have yet to be investigated in chelicerates. We characterized a Limulus Pax6 gene, with multiple splice products and predicted protein isoforms, and one atonal homologue. Unexpectedly, neither gene is expressed in the developing eye types examined, although both genes are present in the lateral sense organ, a structure of unknown function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2209-2219
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental Dynamics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Atonal
  • Chelicerate
  • Eye development
  • Limulus
  • Pax6

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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