Altered expression of the chicken homeobox-containing genes GHox-7 and GHox-8 in the limb buds of limbless mutant chick embryos

Development. 1991 Dec;113(4):1487-93. doi: 10.1242/dev.113.4.1487.


It has been suggested that the reciprocal expression of the chicken homeobox-containing genes GHox-8 and GHox-7 by the apical ectodermal ridge and subjacent limb mesoderm might be involved in regulating the proximodistal outgrowth of the developing chick limb bud. In the present study the expression of GHox-7 and GHox-8 has been examined by in situ and dot blot hybridization in the developing limb buds of limbless mutant chick embryos. The limb buds of homozygous mutant limbless embryos form at the proper time in development (stage 17/18), but never develop an apical ectodermal ridge, fail to undergo normal elongation, and eventually degenerate. At stage 18, which is shortly following the formation of the limb bud, the expression of GHox-7 is considerably reduced (about 3-fold lower) in the mesoderm of limbless mutant limb buds compared to normal limb bud mesoderm. By stages 20 and 21, as the limb buds of limbless embryos cease outgrowth, GHox-7 expression in limbless mesoderm declines to very low levels, whereas GHox-7 expression increases in the mesoderm of normal limb buds which are undergoing outgrowth. In contrast to GHox-7, expression of GHox-8 in limbless mesoderm at stage 18 is quantitatively similar to its expression in normal limb bud mesoderm, and in limbless and normal mesoderm GHox-8 expression is highly localized in the anterior mesoderm of the limb bud. In normal limb buds, GHox-8 is also expressed in high amounts by the apical ectodermal ridge.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoradiography
  • Chick Embryo
  • Ectoderm / physiology
  • Extremities / embryology*
  • Gene Expression / genetics
  • Genes, Homeobox / genetics*
  • Molecular Probe Techniques
  • Morphogenesis / genetics*
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis


  • RNA, Messenger