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Development. 2000 Feb;127(3):605-19.

Combinatorial signaling through BMP receptor IB and GDF5: shaping of the distal mouse limb and the genetics of distal limb diversity.

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1
Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Abstract

In this study, we use a mouse insertional mutant to delineate gene activities that shape the distal limb skeleton. A recessive mutation that results in brachydactyly was found in a lineage of transgenic mice. Sequences flanking the transgene insertion site were cloned, mapped to chromosome 3, and used to identify the brachydactyly gene as the type IB bone morphogenetic protein receptor, BmprIB (ALK6). Expression analyses in wild-type mice revealed two major classes of BmprIB transcripts. Rather than representing unique coding RNAs generated by alternative splicing of a single pro-mRNA transcribed from one promoter, the distinct isoforms reflect evolution of two BmprIB promoters: one located distally, driving expression in the developing limb skeleton, and one situated proximally, initiating transcription in neural epithelium. The distal promoter is deleted in the insertional mutant, resulting in a regulatory allele (BmprIB(Tg)) lacking cis-sequences necessary for limb BmprIB expression. Mutants fail to generate digit cartilage, indicating that BMPRIB is the physiologic transducer for the formation of digit cartilage from the skeletal blastema. Expansion of BmprIB expression into the limb through acquisition of these distal cis-regulatory sequences appears, therefore, to be an important genetic component driving morphological diversity in distal extremities. GDF5 is a BMP-related signal, which is also required for proper digit formation. Analyses incorporating both Gdf5 and BmprIB(Tg) alleles revealed that BMPRIB regulates chondrogenesis and segmentation through both GDF5-dependent and -independent processes, and that, reciprocally, GDF5 acts through both IB and other type I receptors. Together, these findings provide in vivo support for the concept of combinatorial BMP signaling, in which distinct outcomes result both from a single receptor being triggered by different ligands and from a single ligand binding to different receptors.

PMID:
10631181
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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