Cheryll Tickle

University of Bath, Bath, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (225)1587.36 Total impact

  • Cheryll Tickle
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The vertebrate limb with its complex anatomy develops from a small bud of undifferentiated mesoderm cells encased in ectoderm. The bud has its own intrinsic polarity and can develop autonomously into a limb without reference to the rest of the embryo. In this review, recent advances are integrated with classical embryology, carried out mainly in chick embryos, to present an overview of how the embryo makes a limb bud. We will focus on how mesoderm cells in precise locations in the embryo become determined to form a limb and express the key transcription factors Tbx4 (leg/hindlimb) or Tbx5 (wing/forelimb). These Tbx transcription factors have equivalent functions in the control of bud formation by initiating a signalling cascade involving Wnts and fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) and by regulating recruitment of mesenchymal cells from the coelomic epithelium into the bud. The mesoderm that will form limb buds and the polarity of the buds is determined with respect to both antero-posterior and dorso-ventral axes of the body. The position in which a bud develops along the antero-posterior axis of the body will also determine its identity - wing/forelimb or leg/hindlimb. Hox gene activity, under the influence of retinoic acid signalling, is directly linked with the initiation of Tbx5 gene expression in the region along the antero-posterior axis of the body that will form wings/forelimbs and determines antero-posterior polarity of the buds. In contrast, Tbx4 expression in the regions that will form legs/hindlimbs is regulated by the homeoprotein Pitx1 and there is no evidence that Hox genes determine antero-posterior polarity of the buds. Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signalling determines the region along the dorso-ventral axis of the body in which both wings/forelimbs and legs/hindlimbs develop and dorso-ventral polarity of the buds. The polarity of the buds leads to the establishment of signalling regions - the dorsal and ventral ectoderm, producing Wnts and BMPs, respectively, the apical ectodermal ridge producing fibroblast growth factors and the polarizing region, Sonic hedgehog (Shh). These signals are the same in both wings/forelimbs and legs/hindlimbs and control growth and pattern formation by providing the mesoderm cells of the limb bud as it develops with positional information. The precise anatomy of the limb depends on the mesoderm cells in the developing bud interpreting positional information according to their identity - determined by Pitx1 in hindlimbs - and genotype. The competence to form a limb extends along the entire antero-posterior axis of the trunk - with Hox gene activity inhibiting the formation of forelimbs in the interlimb region - and also along the dorso-ventral axis. © 2015 Anatomical Society.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Journal of Anatomy
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MicroRNAs are differentially expressed in breast cancer cells and have been implicated in cancer formation, tumour invasion and metastasis. We investigated the miRNA expression profiles in the developing mammary gland. MiR-137 was expressed prominently in the developing mammary gland. When the miR-137 was over-expressed in the embryo, the mammary epithelium became thickened. Moreover, genes associated with mammary gland formation such as Tbx3 and Lef1 were not expressed. This suggests that miR-137 induces gland formation and invasion. When miR-137 was over-expressed in MDA-MB-231 cells, their ability to form tumours in adult mice was significantly reduced. These data support miR-137 decides epithelial cell behavior in the human breast cancer. It also suggests that miR-137 is a potential therapeutic target for amelioration of breast cancer progression.
    No preview · Article · May 2015 · Oncotarget
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    Kavitha Chinnaiya · Cheryll Tickle · Matthew Towers
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: How time is measured is an enduring issue in developmental biology. Classical models of somitogenesis and limb development implicated intrinsic cell cycle clocks, but their existence remains controversial. Here we show that an intrinsic cell cycle clock in polarizing region cells of the chick limb bud times the duration of Sonic hedgehog (Shh) expression, which encodes the morphogen specifying digit pattern across the antero-posterior axis (thumb to little finger). Timing by this clock starts when polarizing region cells fall out of range of retinoic acid signalling. We found that timing of Shh transcription by the cell cycle clock can be reset, thus revealing an embryonic form of self-renewal. In contrast, antero-posterior positional values cannot be reset, suggesting that this may be an important constraint on digit regeneration. Our findings provide the first evidence for an intrinsic cell cycle timer controlling duration and patterning activity of a major embryonic signalling centre.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · Nature Communications
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Apoptosis is an important mechanism for sculpting morphology. However, the molecular cascades that control apoptosis in developing limb buds remain largely unclear. Here, we show that MafB was specifically expressed in apoptotic regions of chick limb buds, and MafB/cFos heterodimers repressed apoptosis, whereas MafB/cJun heterodimers promoted apoptosis for sculpting the shape of the limbs. Chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing in chick limb buds identified potential target genes and regulatory elements controlled by Maf and Jun. Functional analyses revealed that expression of p63 and p73, key components known to arrest the cell cycle, was directly activated by MafB and cJun. Our data suggest that dimeric combinations of MafB, cFos and cJun in developing chick limb buds control the number of apoptotic cells, and that MafB/cJun heterodimers lead to apoptosis via activation of p63 and p73.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2014 · Development
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: The three chick wing digits represent a classical example of a pattern specified by a morphogen gradient. Here we have investigated whether a mathematical model of a Shh gradient can describe the specification of the identities of the three chick wing digits and if it can be applied to limbs with more digits. Results: We have produced a mathematical model for specification of chick wing digit identities by a Shh gradient that can be extended to the four digits of the chick leg with Shh-producing cells forming a digit. This model cannot be extended to specify the five digits of the mouse limb. Conclusions: Our data suggest that the parameters of a classical-type morphogen gradient are sufficient to specify the identities of three different digits. However, to specify more digit identities, this core mechanism has to be coupled to alternative processes, one being that in the chick leg and mouse limb, Shh-producing cells give rise to digits; another that in the mouse limb, the cellular response to the Shh gradient adapts over time so that digit specification does not depend simply on Shh concentration.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2014 · Developmental Dynamics
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The precise control of gene expression is critical in embryonic development. Quantitative assays, such as microarrays and RNA sequencing, provide gene expression levels for a large number of genes, but do not contain spatial information. In contrast, in situ methods, such as in situ hybridisation and immunohistochemistry, provide spatial resolution, but poor quantification and can only reveal the expression of one, or very few genes at a time. Furthermore, the usual methods of documenting the results, by photographing whole mounts or sections, makes it very difficult to assess the three-dimensional (3D) relationships between expressing and non-expressing cells. Optical projection tomography (OPT) can capture the full 3D expression pattern in a whole embryo at a reasonable level of resolution and at moderately high throughput. A large database containing spatio-temporal patterns of expression for the mouse (e-Mouse Atlas Project, EMAP, has been created, incorporating 3D information. Like the mouse, the chick is an important model in developmental biology and translational studies. To facilitate comparisons between these important model organisms, we have created a 3D anatomical atlas, accompanied by an anatomical ontology of the chick embryo and a database of gene expression patterns during chick development. This database is publicly available (
    Full-text · Article · May 2013 · genesis
  • Cheryll Tickle · Heather Barker
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A gradient of Sonic hedgehog (Shh) plays a major role in specifying the antero-posterior pattern of structures that develop in the distal part of the vertebrate limb, in particular, the antero-posterior pattern of the digits. Classical embryological experiments identified the polarizing region (or zone of polarizing activity, ZPA), a signaling region at the posterior margin of the early chick wing bud and, consistent with a model in which production of a diffusible morphogen specifies antero-posterior positional information, polarizing region signaling was shown to be dose dependent and long range. It is now well established that the vertebrate hedgehog gene, Sonic hedgehog (Shh), which encodes a secreted protein, is expressed in the polarizing region of the chick wing and that Shh signaling has the same characteristics as polarizing region signaling. Shh expression at the posterior of the early limb bud and the mechanism of Shh signal transduction are conserved among vertebrates including mammals. However, it is unlikely that a simple Shh gradient is responsible for digit pattern formation in mammalian limbs and there is still little understanding of how positional information specified by Shh signaling is encoded and translated into digit anatomy. Alterations in Shh signaling underlie some congenital limb abnormalities and also changes in timing and extent of Shh signaling appear to be related to the evolution of morphological diversity of vertebrate limbs. WIREs Dev Biol 2013, 2:275–290. doi: 10.1002/wdev.70 For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2013 · Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Developmental Biology
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Retinoic acid receptors (RARs), which are involved in retinoic acid signal transduction, are essential for maintaining the differentiated state of epithelial tissues. Mammary glands are skin appendages whose development is initiated through continuous cell-cell interactions between the ectoderm and the adjacent mesenchyme. Considerable progress has been made in elucidating the molecular basis of these interactions in mammary gland formation in mouse embryos, including the network of initiating signals comprising Fgfs, Wnts and Bmps involved in gland positioning and the transcription factors, Tbx3 and Lef1, essential for mammary gland development. Here, we provide evidence that retinoic acid signaling may also be involved in mammary gland development. We documented the expression of gene-encoding enzymes that produce retinoic acid (Raldh2) and enzymes that degrade it (Cyp26a1, Cyp26b1). We also analyzed the expression of RAR-β, a direct transcriptional target of retinoic acid signaling. Raldh2 and RAR-β were expressed in E10-E10.5 mouse embryos in somites adjacent to the flank region where mammary buds 2, 3 and 4 develop. These expression patterns overlapped with that of Fgf10, which is known to be required for mammary gland formation. RAR-β was also expressed in the mammary mesenchyme in E12 mouse embryos; RAR-β protein was expressed in the mammary epithelium and developing fat pad. Retinoic acid levels in organ cultures of E10.5 mouse embryo flanks were manipulated by adding either retinoic acid or citral, a retinoic acid synthesis inhibitor. Reduced retinoic acid synthesis altered the expression of genes involved in retinoic acid homeostasis and also demonstrated that retinoic acid signaling is required for Tbx3 expression, whereas high levels of retinoic acid signaling inhibited Bmp4 expression and repressed Wnt signaling. The results of the experiments using RNAi against Tbx3 and Wnt10b suggested feedback interactions that regulate retinoic acid homeostasis in mammary gland-forming regions. We produced a molecular model for mammary gland initiation that incorporated retinoic acid signaling.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2012 · Developmental Biology
  • Matthew Towers · Lewis Wolpert · Cheryll Tickle
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The developing limb is one of the first systems where it was proposed that a signalling gradient is involved in pattern formation. This gradient for specifying positional information across the antero-posterior axis is based on Sonic hedgehog signalling from the polarizing region. Recent evidence suggests that Sonic hedgehog signalling also specifies positional information across the antero-posterior axis by a timing mechanism acting in parallel with graded signalling. The progress zone model for specifying proximo-distal pattern, involving timing to provide cells with positional information, continues to be challenged, and there is further evidence that graded signalling by retinoic acid specifies the proximal part of the limb. Other recent papers present the first evidence that gradients of signalling by Wnt5a and FGFs govern cell behaviour involved in outgrowth and morphogenesis of the developing limb.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2011 · Current opinion in cell biology
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The proposal that birds descended from theropod dinosaurs with digits 2, 3 and 4 was recently given support by short-term fate maps, suggesting that the chick wing polarizing region-a group that Sonic hedgehog-expressing cells-gives rise to digit 4. Here we show using long-term fate maps that Green fluorescent protein-expressing chick wing polarizing region grafts contribute only to soft tissues along the posterior margin of digit 4, supporting fossil data that birds descended from theropods that had digits 1, 2 and 3. In contrast, digit IV of the chick leg with four digits (I-IV) arises from the polarizing region. To determine how digit identity is specified over time, we inhibited Sonic hedgehog signalling. Fate maps show that polarizing region and adjacent cells are specified in parallel through a series of anterior to posterior digit fates-a process of digit specification that we suggest is involved in patterning all vertebrate limbs with more than three digits.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2011 · Nature Communications
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Specification of digit number and identity is central to digit pattern in vertebrate limbs. The classical talpid(3) chicken mutant has many unpatterned digits together with defects in other regions, depending on hedgehog (Hh) signalling, and exhibits embryonic lethality. The talpid(3) chicken has a mutation in KIAA0586, which encodes a centrosomal protein required for the formation of primary cilia, which are sites of vertebrate Hh signalling. The highly conserved exons 11 and 12 of KIAA0586 are essential to rescue cilia in talpid(3) chicken mutants. We constitutively deleted these two exons to make a talpid3(-/-) mouse. Mutant mouse embryos lack primary cilia and, like talpid(3) chicken embryos, have face and neural tube defects but also defects in left/right asymmetry. Conditional deletion in mouse limb mesenchyme results in polydactyly and in brachydactyly and a failure of subperisoteal bone formation, defects that are attributable to abnormal sonic hedgehog and Indian hedgehog signalling, respectively. Like talpid(3) chicken limbs, the mutant mouse limbs are syndactylous with uneven digit spacing as reflected in altered Raldh2 expression, which is normally associated with interdigital mesenchyme. Both mouse and chicken mutant limb buds are broad and short. talpid3(-/-) mouse cells migrate more slowly than wild-type mouse cells, a change in cell behaviour that possibly contributes to altered limb bud morphogenesis. This genetic mouse model will facilitate further conditional approaches, epistatic experiments and open up investigation into the function of the novel talpid3 gene using the many resources available for mice.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2011 · Development
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signalling controls integrated specification of digit pattern and growth in the chick wing but downstream gene networks remain to be unravelled. We analysed 3D expression patterns of genes encoding cell cycle regulators using Optical Projection Tomography. Hierarchical clustering of spatial matrices of gene expression revealed a dorsal layer of the wing bud, in which almost all genes were expressed, and that genes encoding positive cell cycle regulators had similar expression patterns while those of N-myc and CyclinD2 were distinct but closely related. We compared these patterns computationally with those of genes implicated in digit specification and Ptch1, 50 genes in total. Nineteen genes have similar posterior expression to Ptch1, including Hoxd13, Sall1, Hoxd11, and Bmp2, all likely Gli targets in mouse limb, and cell cycle genes, N-myc, CyclinD2. We suggest that these genes contribute to a network integrating digit specification and growth in response to Shh.
    Full-text · Article · May 2011 · Developmental Dynamics
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Point mutations in the intronic ZRS region of Lmbr1, a limb specific cis-regulatory element of Sonic hedgehog (Shh), are associated with polydactyly in humans, cats, and mice. We and others have recently mapped the dominant preaxial polydactyly (Po) locus in Silkie chickens to a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the ZRS region. Using polymorphisms in the chicken Shh sequence, we confirm that the ZRS region directly regulates Shh expression in the developing limb causing ectopic Shh expression in the anterior leg, prolonged Shh expression in the posterior limb, and allelic imbalance between wt and Slk Shh alleles in heterozygote limbs. Using Silkie legs, we have explored the consequences of increased Shh expression in the posterior leg on the patterning of the toes, and the induction of preaxial polydactyly.
    Full-text · Article · May 2011 · Developmental Dynamics
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    Dataset: Movie S1
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: showing a 3D view of unique spatial domain clusters representing regions fated to form digits in stage 21 wing bud. Digit 2: yellow, digit 3: pink, digit 4: white. (MPG)
    Preview · Dataset · Apr 2011
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    Dataset: Movie S3
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: showing a 3D view of unique spatial domain clusters representing regions fated to form digits in stage 27 wing bud. Digit 2: yellow, digit 3: pink, digit 4: white. (MPG)
    Preview · Dataset · Apr 2011
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hoxd13, Tbx2, Tbx3, Sall1 and Sall3 genes are candidates for encoding antero-posterior positional values in the developing chick wing and specifying digit identity. In order to build up a detailed profile of gene expression patterns in cell lineages that give rise to each of the digits over time, we compared 3 dimensional (3D) expression patterns of these genes during wing development and related them to digit fate maps. 3D gene expression data at stages 21, 24 and 27 spanning early bud to digital plate formation, captured from in situ hybridisation whole mounts using Optical Projection Tomography (OPT) were mapped to reference wing bud models. Grafts of wing bud tissue from GFP chicken embryos were used to fate map regions of the wing bud giving rise to each digit; 3D images of the grafts were captured using OPT and mapped on to the same models. Computational analysis of the combined computerised data revealed that Tbx2 and Tbx3 are expressed in digit 3 and 4 progenitors at all stages, consistent with encoding stable antero-posterior positional values established in the early bud; Hoxd13 and Sall1 expression is more dynamic, being associated with posterior digit 3 and 4 progenitors in the early bud but later becoming associated with anterior digit 2 progenitors in the digital plate. Sox9 expression in digit condensations lies within domains of digit progenitors defined by fate mapping; digit 3 condensations express Hoxd13 and Sall1, digit 4 condensations Hoxd13, Tbx3 and to a lesser extent Tbx2. Sall3 is only transiently expressed in digit 3 progenitors at stage 24 together with Sall1 and Hoxd13; then becomes excluded from the digital plate. These dynamic patterns of expression suggest that these genes may play different roles in digit identity either together or in combination at different stages including the digit condensation stage.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2011 · PLoS ONE
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    Dataset: Movie S2
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: showing a 3D view of unique spatial domain clusters representing regions fated to form digits in stage 24 wing bud. Digit 2: yellow, digit 3: pink, digit 4: white. (MPG)
    Preview · Dataset · Apr 2011
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Each vertebrate species displays specific tooth patterns in each quadrant of the jaw: the mouse has one incisor and three molars, which develop at precise locations and at different times. The reason why multiple teeth form in the jaw of vertebrates and the way in which they develop separately from each other have been extensively studied, but the genetic mechanism governing the spatial patterning of teeth still remains to be elucidated. Sonic hedgehog (Shh) is one of the key signaling molecules involved in the spatial patterning of teeth and other ectodermal organs such as hair, vibrissae and feathers. Sostdc1, a secreted inhibitor of the Wnt and Bmp pathways, also regulates the spatial patterning of teeth and hair. Here, by utilizing maternal transfer of 5E1 (an anti-Shh antibody) to mouse embryos through the placenta, we show that Sostdc1 is downstream of Shh signaling and suggest a Wnt-Shh-Sostdc1 negative feedback loop as a pivotal mechanism controlling the spatial patterning of teeth. Furthermore, we propose a new reaction-diffusion model in which Wnt, Shh and Sostdc1 act as the activator, mediator and inhibitor, respectively, and confirm that such interactions can generate the tooth pattern of a wild-type mouse and can explain the various tooth patterns produced experimentally.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2011 · Development
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Eggs containing live Japanese quail embryos were imaged using micro-magnetic resonance imaging (μMRI) at 24-h intervals from Day 0 to 8, the period during which the main body axis is being laid down and organogenesis is taking place. Considerable detail of non-embryonic structures such as the latebra was revealed at early stages but the embryo could only be visualized around Day 3. Three-dimensional (3D) changes in embryo length and volume were quantified and also changes in volume in the extra- and non-embryonic components. The embryo increased in length by 43% and nearly trebled in volume between Day 4 and Day 5. Although the amount of yolk remained fairly constant over the first 5 days, the amount of albumen decreases significantly and was replaced by extra-embryonic fluid (EEF). ¹H longitudinal (T₁) and transverse (T₂) relaxation times of different regions within the eggs were determined over the first 6 days of development. The T₂ measurements mirrored the changes in image intensity observed, which can be related to the aqueous protein concentrations. In addition, a comparison of the development of Day 0 to 3 quail embryos exposed to radiofrequency (rf) pulses, 7 T static magnetic fields and magnetic field gradients for an average of 7 h with the development of control embryos did not reveal any gross changes, thus confirming that μMRI is a suitable tool for following the development of live avian embryos over time from the earliest stages.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2011 · Magnetic Resonance Imaging
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Supplementary Data.
    Preview · Dataset · Jan 2011

Publication Stats

14k Citations
1,587.36 Total Impact Points


  • 2008-2012
    • University of Bath
      • Department of Biology and Biochemistry
      Bath, England, United Kingdom
  • 1998-2010
    • University of Dundee
      • Division of Cell and Developmental Biology
      Dundee, SCT, United Kingdom
  • 1994-2008
    • University College London
      • Department of Cell and Developmental Biology
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
    • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
      • Division of Molecular Biology
      New York, New York, United States
  • 1993
    • European Molecular Biology Laboratory
      Heidelburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 1991
    • Middlesex University, UK
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
  • 1978
    • Middlesex Hospital
      मिडलटाउन, Connecticut, United States