Kazanskaya, O.V., Severtzova, E.A., Barth, K.A., Ermakova, G.V., Lukyanov, S.A., Benyumov, A.O., Pannese, M., Boncinelli, E., Wilson, S.W., and Zaraisky, A.G. (1997) Anf: a novel class of vertebrate homeobox genes expressed at the anterior end of the main embryonic axis. Gene. 200:25-34.
Five novel genes homologous to the homeobox-containing genes Xanf-1 and Xanf-2 of Xenopus and Hesx-1/Rpx of mouse have been identified as a result of a PCR survey of cDNA in sturgeon, zebrafish, newt, chicken and human. Comparative analysis of the homeodomain primary structure of these genes revealed that they belong to a novel class of homeobox genes, which we name Anf. All genes of this class investigated so far have similar patterns of expression during early embryogenesis, characterized by maximal transcript levels being present at the anterior extremity of the main embryonic body axis. The data obtained also suggest that, despite considerable high structural divergence between their homeodomains, all known Anf genes may be orthologues, and thus represent one of the most quickly evolving classes of vertebrate homeobox genes.