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Mech Dev. 1993 Oct;43(2-3):175-86.

Wnt-5a and Wnt-7a are expressed in the developing chick limb bud in a manner suggesting roles in pattern formation along the proximodistal and dorsoventral axes.

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Department of Anatomy, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington 06030.


The Wnt gene family encodes a group of secreted signalling molecules that have been implicated in the regulation of cell fate and pattern formation during embryogenesis. We have examined the patterns of expression of two members of the chicken Wnt family, Wnt-5a and Wnt-7a, during development of the chick limb bud. Wnt-5a is expressed in the apical ectodermal ridge which directs outgrowth of limb mesoderm. Wnt-5a also exhibits three quantitatively distinct domains of expression along the proximodistal (PD) axis of the limb mesoderm that may correspond to the regions which will give rise to the three distinct PD segments of the limb, the autopod, zeugopod, and stylopod. In contrast, Wnt-7a expression in the limb bud is specifically limited to the dorsal ectoderm. These observations suggest possible roles for Wnt-5a and Wnt-7a in pattern formation along the PD and dorsoventral axes of the developing chick limb bud. In addition, Wnt-5a and Wnt-7a exhibit spatially discrete domains of expression in several other regions of the chick embryo consistent with developmental roles for these genes in a variety of other tissues.

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