[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It has been proposed that digit identity in chick limb bud is specified in a dose-dependent fashion by a long-range morphogen, produced by the polarising region. One candidate is Sonic hedgehog (Shh) protein, but it is not clear whether Shh acts long or short range or via Bmps. Here we dissect the relationship between Shh and Bmp signalling. We show that Shh is necessary not only for initiating bmp2 expression but also for sustaining its expression during the period when additional digits are being specified. We also show that we can reproduce much of the effect of Shh during this period by applying only Bmp2. We further demonstrate that it is Bmps that are responsible for digit specification by transiently adding Noggin or Bmp antibodies to limbs treated with Shh. In such limbs, multiple additional digits still form but they all have the same identity. We also explored time dependency and range of Shh signalling by examining ptc expression. We show that high-level ptc expression is induced rapidly when either Shh beads or polarising regions are grafted to a host limb. Furthermore, we find that high-level ptc expression is first widespread but later more restricted. All these data lead us to propose a new model for digit patterning. We suggest that Shh initially acts long range to prime the region of the limb competent to form digits and thus control digit number. Then later, Shh acts short range to induce expression of Bmps, whose morphogenetic action specifies digit identity.
Development 05/2000; 127(7):1337-48. · 6.21 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pax1 expression in vertebrate limb buds is confined to cells in a discrete anterior proximal domain (Timmons et al.  Development 120:2773-2785; Ebensperger et al.  Anat. Embryol. 191:297-310). In dorsoventral patterning of Drosophila, expression of pox meso, an insect gene with high sequence similarity to Pax1, is repressed by decapentaplegic (dpp) in dorsal mesoderm and, thus, is restricted to a discrete ventral domain (Staehling-Hampton et al.  Nature 372:783-786). In the chick wing, cells expressing a vertebrate homolog of dpp, bone morphogenetic protein 4 (Bmp4), abut the Pax1 domain, suggesting a similar relationship between homologous genes in both vertebrates and invertebrates. Here, we show that two BMPs (BMP4, and BMP2, also highly related to dpp) can repress Pax1 in the developing chick wing. Chick wing bud cells expressing Pax1 give rise to the shoulder girdle. Cells in an equivalent position in the mouse forelimb also express Pax1, and Pax1 mutant mice display shoulder girdle defects. Similarly in chick embryos, girdle defects are produced by treatments with signalling molecules that lead to expression of BMPs, which subsequently reduce Pax1 expression in the limb bud. Recently, BMP4 has been shown to inhibit Pax1 expression in the developing trunk (Monsoro-Burq et al.  Development 122:3607-3616) and Pax9 expression in developing teeth (Neubüser et al.  Cell 90:247-255). Thus, a property of BMPs appears to be to regulate pox meso homologs negatively and, thus, limit their expression domains.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Anteroposterior polarity in the vertebrate limb is thought to be regulated in response to signals derived from a specialized region of distal posterior mesenchyme, the zone of polarizing activity. Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) is expressed in the zone of polarizing activity and appears to mediate the action of the zone of polarizing activity. Here we have manipulated Shh signal in the limb to assess whether it acts as a long-range signal to directly pattern all the digits. Firstly, we demonstrate that alterations in digit development are dependent upon the dose of Shh applied. DiI-labeling experiments indicate that cells giving rise to the extra digits lie within a 300 microm radius of a Shh bead and that the most posterior digits come from cells that lie very close to the bead. A response to Shh involves a 12-16 hour period in which no irreversible changes in digit pattern occur. Increasing the time of exposure to Shh leads to specification of additional digits, firstly digit 2, then 3, then 4. Cell marking experiments demonstrate that cells giving rise to posterior digits are first specified as anterior digits and later adopt a more posterior character. To monitor the direct range of Shh signalling, we developed sensitive assays for localizing Shh by attaching alkaline phosphatase to Shh and introducing cells expressing these forms into the limb bud. These experiments demonstrate that long-range diffusion across the anteroposterior axis of the limb is possible. However, despite a dramatic difference in their diffusibility in the limb mesenchyme, the two forms of alkaline phosphatase-tagged Shh proteins share similar polarizing activity. Moreover, Shh-N (aminoterminal peptide of Shh)-coated beads and Shh-expressing cells also exhibit similar patterning activity despite a significant difference in the diffusibility of Shh from these two sources. Finally, we demonstrate that when Shh-N is attached to an integral membrane protein, cells transfected with this anchored signal also induce mirror-image pattern duplications in a dose-dependent fashion similar to the zone of polarizing activity itself. These data suggest that it is unlikely that Shh itself signals digit formation at a distance. Beads soaked in Shh-N do not induce Shh in anterior limb mesenchyme ruling out direct propagation of a Shh signal. However, Shh induces dose-dependent expression of Bmp genes in anterior mesenchyme at the start of the promotion phase. Taken together, these results argue that the dose-dependent effects of Shh in the regulation of anteroposterior pattern in the limb may be mediated by some other signal(s). BMPs are plausible candidates.
Development 12/1997; 124(21):4393-404. · 6.21 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hedgehog genes in Drosophila and vertebrates control patterning of a number of different structures during embryogenesis. They code for secreted signaling proteins that are cleaved into an active aminopeptide and a carboxypeptide. The aminopeptide can mediate local and long range events and can act as a morphogen, inducing differentiation of distinct cell types in a concentration-dependent manner. We demonstrate here that the expression of Indian hedgehog mRNA and protein is upregulated dramatically as F9 cells differentiate in response to retinoic acid, into either parietal endoderm or embryoid bodies, containing an outer visceral endoderm layer. The ES cell line D3 forms embryoid bodies in suspension culture without addition of retinoic acid and also upregulates Indian hedgehog expression. RT-PCR analysis of blastocyst outgrowth cultures demonstrates that whereas little or no Indian hedgehog message is present in blastocysts, significant levels appear upon subsequent days of culture, coincident with the emergence of parietal endoderm cells. In situ hybridization analysis for Indian hedgehog mRNA expression demonstrates the presence of elevated levels of message in the outer visceral endoderm cells relative to the core cells in mature embryoid bodies and in the visceral endoderm of Day 6.5 embryos. Whole-mount in situ hybridization analysis of Day 7.5 and 8.5 embryos indicates that Indian hedgehog expression is highest in the visceral yolk sac at this stage. F9 cell lines expressing a full length Indian hedgehog cDNA express a number of characteristics of differentiated cells, in the absence of retinoic acid. Taken together, these data suggest that Indian hedgehog is involved in mediating differentiation of extraembryonic endoderm during early mouse embryogenesis.