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Genes Dev. 1991 Dec;5(12B):2363-74.

The apical ectodermal ridge regulates Hox-7 and Hox-8 gene expression in developing chick limb buds.

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  • 1Departement de Biologie Mol├ęculaire, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.


We show that expression of the two related chicken homeo box genes, Hox-7 and Hox-8, which is widespread in the lateral mesoderm at early stages, becomes restricted to the mesoderm underlying the apical ectodermal ridge as limbs develop. Expression in the limb bud mesoderm is not maintained in the limbless mutant, which does not form an apical ridge. The mutant can be rescued by grafting normal ectoderm to the limb field. This leads to expression of the two homeo box genes in the mesoderm under the induced ridge. Phenocopies of eudiplopodia, which form an ectopic ridge on the limb bud, express the two genes under both ridges. When a quail ridge is grafted over nonexpressing mesoderm, a new site of expression is induced. Therefore, Hox-7 and Hox-8 depend on a functional ridge for their continued expression in the limb bud and can be induced by it.

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