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Dev Biol. 2005 Nov 1;287(1):11-8. Epub 2005 Oct 3.

The formation of the avian scapula blade takes place in the hypaxial domain of the somites and requires somatopleure-derived BMP signals.

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Department of Molecular Embryology, Institute of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, D-79001 Freiburg, Germany.


The avian scapula is a long bone located dorsally on the thorax. The cranial part that articulates with the upper limb is derived from the somatopleure of the forelimb field, while the caudal part, the scapula blade, originates from the dermomyotomes of brachial and thoracic somites. In previous studies, we have shown that scapula blade formation is intrinsically controlled by segment-specific information as well as extrinsically by ectoderm-derived signals. Here, we addressed the role of signals derived from the lateral plate mesoderm on scapula development. Chick-quail chimera experiments revealed that scapula precursor cells are located within the hypaxial domain of the dermomyotome adjacent to somatopleural cells. Barrier implantation between these two cell populations inhibited scapula blade formation. Furthermore, we identified BMPs as scapula-inducing signals from the somatopleure using injection of Noggin-producing cells into the hypaxial domain of scapula-forming dermomyotomes. We found that inhibition of BMP activity interfered with scapula-specific Pax1 expression and scapula blade formation. Taken together, we demonstrate that the scapula-forming cells located within the hypaxial somitic domain require BMP signals derived from the somatopleure for their specification and differentiation.

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