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Free Content Feather buds exert a polarizing activity when transplanted to chick limb buds

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Homeoproteins have been shown to be expressed in a position-specific manner along the anterior-posterior axis in the developing chick feather bud, as seen also in the developing limb bud. These facts raise the possibility that there may be common mechanistic features in the establishment of the anterior-posterior polarity between both organs. In order to investigate this possibility, feather bud tissues were transplanted into the anterior region of limb buds to determine whether feather bud tissues possess properties such as the zone of polarizing activity of the limb bud. The manipulated limb bud formed a mirror image duplication of the skeletal elements, mainly (2)2234 digit pattern or sometimes 3(2)234. Both the anterior and posterior halves of feather bud tissue exhibited almost equal activity in inducing ectopic skeletal elements. Hoxd-12 and Hoxa-13 were expressed coordinately around the transplanted site of the operated limb bud. This secondary axis-inducing activity of the feather bud was enhanced when grafts were pretreated with trypsin. In contrast, the presumptive feather bud tissue and inter-feather bud tissue did not induce a secondary axis of the limb bud. These results suggest that the feather bud contains a region that exerts polarizing activity and that this region may play key roles in the formation of the anterior-posterior and, if it exists, proximal-distal axis of the feather bud, possibly via the regulation of region specific expression of Hox genes.

Keywords: developing chick limb; feather pattern; induction; polarity; polarizing activity; skin morphogenesis

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Laboratory of Neuroembryology, Mitsubishi Kasei Institute of Life Sciences, 11 Minamiooya, Machida-shi, Tokyo 194, Japan. 2: Department of Molecular Biology, School of Science, Nagoya University, Furou-tyo, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya-shi, Nagoya 464-01, Japan.

Publication date: 1996-12-01

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