Hindbrain patterning revisited: timing and effects of retinoic acid signalling

Bioessays. 2001 Nov;23(11):981-6. doi: 10.1002/bies.1142.


Retinoids play a critical role in patterning, segmentation, and neurogenesis of the posterior hindbrain and it has been proposed that they act as a posteriorising signal during hindbrain development. Until now, direct evidence that endogenous retinoid signalling acts through a gradient to specify cell fates along the anteroposterior axis has been missing. Two recent studies tested the requirement for retinoid signalling in the developing hindbrain through systematic application of a pan-retinoic acid receptor antagonist. They demonstrate a stage-dependent requirement for increasing retinoid signalling activity along the hindbrain that proceeds from anterior to posterior. Together these findings challenge the concept of a stable gradient of retinoic acid across the hindbrain and warrant a re-interpretation of the phenotypes obtained by genetic and nutritional disruption of retinoid signalling in the amniote embryo.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning / physiology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Rhombencephalon / embryology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Somites / metabolism
  • Time Factors
  • Tretinoin / metabolism*


  • Tretinoin