The establishment of the digital rays and the interdigital spaces in the developing limb autopod is accompanied by the occurrence of corresponding domains of expression of TGF beta s and BMPs. This study analyzes whether these coincident events are functionally correlated. The experiments consisted of local administration of TGF beta-1, TGF beta-2 or BMP-4 by means of heparin or Affi-gel blue beads to the chick limb autopod in the stages preceding the onset of interdigital cell death. When beads bearing either TGF beta-1 or −2 were implanted in the interdigits, the mesodermal cells were diverted from the death program forming ectopic cartilages or extra digits in a dose- and stage-dependent fashion. This change in the interdigital phenotype was preceded by a precocious ectopic expression of ck-erg gene around the bead accompanied by down-regulation of bmp-4, msx-1 and msx-2 gene expression. When BMP-beads were implanted in the interdigital spaces, programmed cell death and the freeing of the digits were both accelerated. Implantation of beads bearing BMP-4 at the tip of the growing digits was followed by digit bifurcation, accompanied by the formation of an ectopic area of cell death resembling an extra interdigit, both morphologically and molecularly. The death-inducing effect of the BMP beads and the chondrogenic-inducing effect of the TGF beta beads were antagonized by the implantation of an additional bead preabsorbed with FGF-2, which constitutes a signal characteristic of the progress zone. It is concluded that the spatial distribution of digital rays and interdigital spaces might be controlled by a patterned distribution of TGF beta s and BMPs in the mesoderm subjacent to the progress zone.
Role of TGF beta s and BMPs as signals controlling the position of the digits and the areas of interdigital cell death in the developing chick limb autopod
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Y. Ganan, D. Macias, M. Duterque-Coquillaud, M.A. Ros, J.M. Hurle; Role of TGF beta s and BMPs as signals controlling the position of the digits and the areas of interdigital cell death in the developing chick limb autopod. Development 1 August 1996; 122 (8): 2349–2357. doi: https://doi.org/10.1242/dev.122.8.2349
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