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Spatiotemporal pattern of EphA4 gene expression in developing quail limb buds

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ABSTRACT

Mesenchymal cells in developing limb buds of tetrapods manifest position-specific cell affinity, which is important in morphogenetic processes such as cell migration and cell condensation. The receptor tyrosine kinase EphA4 contributes to dynamic changes in position-specific cell affinity, playing an important role in normal limb development. The aim of the present study was to characterize the pattern and regulation of EphA4 gene expression during quail embryogenesis. The distribution of EphA4 mRNA in embryos was determined by whole-mount in situ hybridization. Expression of the EphA4 gene was not detected in the body wall before the protrusion of limb buds. EphA4 mRNA was first detected in the emerging limb buds at stage 18. As the limb buds became more distinct, EphA4 transcripts became confined to the distal tip and the base of these structures and extended into the flank. EphA4 gene expression was later detected in regions of cell condensation before undergoing gradual downregulation coincident with bone formation. Removal of part of the wing bud including the zone of polarizing activity from embryos at stage 21 resulted in loss of EphA4 gene expression. Signaling from the zone of polarizing activity appears important for EphA4 gene expression during limb development in quail embryos.
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Keywords: EphA4; limb bud; quail; zone of polarizing activity

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Faculty of Agriculture, Shinshu University, Minamiminowa-mura, Nagano-ken,

Publication date: February 1, 2005

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