A method for determination of the anatomical site of body surface tissue


January 4, 2021

Expression data on Hox family genes allows for the identification of the origin site of the tissue

Key Word : corneal epithelium, epidermal, epithelial cells, fibroblast, gene, graft engineering, identification, ips cell, rebuilding skin, regenerative medicine, skin grafts, skin tissue

Background / Context / Abstract:

In in vivo developmental processes, homeobox (Hox) genes are known to determine spatial information to promote site-specific differentiation. Expression of Hox genes is maintained in the fibroblasts of adult animals, and site identification on the basis of the expression profile of Hox genes is feasible.

Technology Overview:

The present invention is a method for the identification of the isolation site of skin tissue and determination of its utility as a graft on the basis of expression patterns of Hox genes. These genes recognize spatial information and determine the antero-posterior axis and segmental structure of tissues in early stages of animal embryogenesis.
The inventors hypothesized that the expression patterns of the Hox gene family might vary depending on the site of the body in epithelial cells of adult animals as well and investigated this hypothesis with epidermal cells isolated from various sites of the body, including the cornea, of mice. The results demonstrated that most sites of the body were identifiable by checking the expression of 11 genes among the 39 genes of the Hox family plus the Pax6 gene was examined.


・Epidermal cells were isolated from various body sites of mice, such as right and left forefeet and hindlegs, head, neck, tail, abdomen, back, and the corneal epithelium. Expression data of 39 genes of the Hox family, and the PAX6 gene were obtained for individual sites.
・Based on the expression patterns in individual sites, these genes were categorized into 14 groups (HoxB13/D9/D10, A3/A6/B3/B4/B7, HoxA13/C10/C11/C12, HoxC4, B4/C6, HoxA3/A6, HoxB9, HoxD4, HoxA9/D12, HoxA9/A10/D11, HoxB3/B5/B6, HoxD11, HoxC13/D8/D11, Pax6).
・Of the 16 sites examined, 15 were identified on the basis of the expression level of any gene in each of the 14 groups.

Potential Applications / Potential Markets:

・Tissue/cell products for research use (utilizing the present invention for quality control).
・Epidermal cell sheets from site-specific iPS cells for regenerative medicine.

State of Development / Opportunity / Seeking:

・Available for exclusive and non-exclusive licensing
・Exclusive/non-exclusive evaluation for defined period (set up for options)
・Collaborative/supportive research
・Development partner

IP Status:

WO2018/139618 (PCT applied in Japanese)


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