Sox9 is associated with two distinct patterning events during snake lung morphogenesis

Benjamin J van Soldt, Brian D Metscher, Michael K Richardson, Wellington V Cardoso

Publications: Contribution to journalArticlePeer Reviewed


The evolutionary forces that allowed species adaptation to different terrestrial environments and led to great diversity in body shape and size required acquisition of innovative strategies of pattern formation during organogenesis. An extreme example is the formation of highly elongated viscera in snakes. What developmental patterning strategies allowed to overcome the space constraints of the snake's body to meet physiological demands? Here we show that the corn snake uses a Sox2-Sox9 developmental tool kit common to other species to generate and shape the lung in two phases. Initially Sox9 was found at low levels at the tip of the primary lung bud during outgrowth and elongation of the bronchial bud, without driving branching programs characteristic of mammalian lungs. Later, Sox9 induction is recapitulated in the formation of an extensive network of radial septae emerging along the elongated bronchial bud that generates the respiratory region. We propose that altogether these represent key patterning events for formation of both the respiratory faveolar and non-respiratory posterior compartments of the snake's lung.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-19
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Early online date21 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 106010 Developmental biology


  • Epithelial differentiation
  • Evo-devo
  • Lung development
  • Lung evolution
  • Snake
  • Sox genes


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