The mouse genes En-1 and En-2 display sequence similarity, in and around the homeobox region, to the engrailed family in Drosophila. This paper describes their pattern of expression in the 12.5-day mouse embryo as determined by in situ hybridization. En-2 is expressed in a subset of cells expressing En-1. Both genes are expressed in the developing midbrain and its junction with the hindbrain. In addition, En-1 is expressed in the floor of the hindbrain, a restricted ventrolateral segment of the neural tube throughout the trunk and anterior part of the tail, the dermatome of tail somites, the centrum and costal processes in developing vertebrae, a restricted region of facial mesenchyme and the limb-bud ectoderm. Supplementary studies of 9.5-day and 10.5-day embryos showed that the same pattern of expression pertained in the neural tube, but that expression in the somites is at first confined to the dermatome and later found at a low level in restricted sclerotomal regions. Both genes are expressed in restricted domains which do not cross tissue-type boundaries. In several instances, however, boundaries of expression lie within morphologically undifferentiated tissue. These results suggest that En-1 and En-2 may be involved in the establishment or maintenance of the spatial integrity of specific domains within developing tissues.

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