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Retinoic acid and chick limb bud development

Retinoic acid and chick limb bud development

Development . Supplement 1: 113-121

PMID: 1683800

The chick limb bud is a powerful experimental system in which to study pattern formation in vertebrate embryos. Exogenously applied retinoic acid, a vitamin A derivative, can bring about changes in pattern and, on several grounds, is a good candidate for an endogenous morphogen. As such, the local concentration of retinoic acid might provide cells with information about their position in relation to one axis of the limb. Alternatively, retinoic acid may be part of a more complex signalling system. Homeobox genes are possible target genes for regulation by retinoic acid in the limb. In particular, one homeobox gene, XlHbox 1 is expressed locally in the mesenchyme of vertebrate forelimbs and might code for an anterior position. When the pattern of the chick wing is changed by retinoic acid or by grafts of signalling tissue such that anterior cells now form posterior structures, the domain of XlHbox 1 expression expands rather than contracts. The expansion of XlHbox 1 expression correlates with shoulder girdle abnormalities. Retinoic acid application leads to visible changes in bud shape and this allows dissection of the way in which patterning is co-ordinated with morphogenesis. Results of recombination experiments and studies of changes in the apical ridge and proliferation in the mesenchyme suggest the following scheme: retinoic acid is involved in specification of position of mesenchyme cells; this specification determines their local interaction with the ridge that controls ridge morphology; the thickened apical ridge permits local proliferation in the underlying mesenchyme.

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Accession: 018098387

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