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Development. 1997 May;124(9):1643-51.

Retinoid signaling is required for the establishment of a ZPA and for the expression of Hoxb-8, a mediator of ZPA formation.

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  • 1Developmental Biology Program, and V. and M. McLean Department of Biochemistry, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


We show that retinoid receptor antagonists applied to the presumptive wing region block the formation of a zone of polarizing activity (ZPA). This suggests a direct relationship between retinoid signaling and the establishment of the ZPA. We provide evidence that the Hox gene, Hoxb-8, is a direct target of retinoid signaling since exogenously applied RA rapidly induces this gene in the absence of protein synthesis and, moreover, retinoid receptor antagonists down-regulate Hoxb-8 expression. In addition, we find that, in the lateral plate mesoderm, the domains of Hoxb-8 expression and of polarizing activity are coextensive. Taken together, these findings support the hypothesis that retinoids are required for the establishment of a ZPA, and that retinoids act, at least in part, through Hoxb-8, a gene associated with ZPA formation (Charité et al., 1994).

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