Homeobox gene expression correlated with the bifurcation process of limb cartilage development

Nature. 1991 Oct 3;353(6343):443-5. doi: 10.1038/353443a0.


The complex architecture of the limb cartilage pattern probably develops by the sequential segmentation and branching process of precartilaginous cell condensation under the control of positional signalling provided by the zone of polarizing activity (anteroposterior) and the apical ectodermal ridge (proximodistal). This signalling is monitored and interpreted in the mesenchymal cells and induces the position-specific response of subsets of genes. Homeobox genes may be responsible for the interpretation of signalling. A correlation between limb pattern and expression domains of the homeobox genes in the upstream region of Hox/Chox-4 has been proposed. We have analysed the spatial expression pattern of the Chox-1 genes during development of chick limb buds. In contrast to genes in Hox/Chox-4 expressed coordinately along the anteroposterior axis, homeobox genes in Chox-1 have unique and mutually exclusive expression domains along the proximodistal axis. We report here that the expression domains of the Chox-1 genes are closely related to the segmental structure of cartilage along the proximodistal axis, whereas the expression domains of the Chox-4 genes are related to the cartilage branching pattern.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cartilage / embryology*
  • Cartilage / metabolism
  • Chick Embryo / growth & development*
  • Chick Embryo / metabolism
  • Extremities / embryology*
  • Gene Expression
  • Genes, Homeobox / physiology*