Retinoid signaling plays an important role in the developmental patterning of the hindbrain. Studies of the teratogenic effects of retinoids showed early on that the hindbrain suffered patterning defects in cases of retinoid excess or deficiency. Closer examination of these effects in animal models suggested that retinoids might play a physiological role in specifying the antero-posterior axis of the hindbrain. This idea was supported by the localization of retinoid synthetic and degradative enzymes, binding proteins, and receptors to the hindbrain and neighboring regions of the neuroepithelium and the mesoderm. In parallel, it became clear that the molecular patterning of the hindbrain, in terms of the regionalized expression of Hox genes and other developmental regulatory genes, is profoundly influenced by retinoid signaling.
(c) 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.