Genetic analysis and homology between the phenotypic alterations of the human Greig Cephalopolysyndactyly Syndrome (GCPS) and the mouse mutant extra-toes (Xt) have suggested a dominant mutation in the same gene of both species. Recently, the GLI3 gene, a member of the Kruppel-related zinc finger genes, has been proposed as a candidate gene for GCPS. We examined the expression of the mouse Gli3 gene in both Xt mutant animals and during normal mouse development. Northern and RNAase protection analysis of embryos revealed that Gli3 expression was reduced about 50% in heterozygous Xt/+ mice and completely absent in homozygous Xt/Xt mice. In addition, in situ analysis of wild-type mice documented Gli3 expression in the developing limb and brain, structures affected in Xt mutant mice. This pattern suggests an important function of the Gli3 gene during morphogenesis.

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