Functional analysis of chick heparan sulfate 6-O-sulfotransferases in limb bud development

Dev Growth Differ. 2010 Feb;52(2):146-56. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-169X.2009.01148.x. Epub 2009 Dec 20.


Heparan sulfate (HS) interacts with numerous growth factors, morphogens, receptors, and extracellular matrix proteins. Disruption of HS synthetic enzymes causes perturbation of growth factor signaling and malformation in vertebrate and invertebrate development. Our previous studies show that the O-sulfation patterns of HS are essential for the specific binding of growth factors to HS chains, and that depletion of O-sulfotransferases results in remarkable developmental defects in Drosophila, zebrafish, chick, and mouse. Here, we show that inhibition of chick HS-6-O-sulfotransferases (HS6ST-1 and HS6ST-2) in the prospective limb region by RNA interference (RNAi) resulted in the truncation of limb buds and reduced Fgf-8 and Fgf-10 expressions in the apical ectodermal ridge and in the underlying mesenchyme, respectively. HS6ST-2 RNAi resulted in a higher frequency of limb truncation and a more marked change in both Fgf-8 and Fgf-10 expressions than that achieved with HS6ST-1 RNAi. HS6ST-1 RNAi and HS6ST-2 RNAi caused a significant but distinct reduction in the levels of different 6-O-sulfation in HS, possibly as a result of their different substrate specificities. Our data support a model where proper levels and patterns of 6-O-sulfation of HS play essential roles in chick limb bud development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chick Embryo
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic / genetics
  • Heparitin Sulfate / metabolism
  • Limb Buds / embryology*
  • Limb Buds / enzymology*
  • Limb Buds / metabolism
  • RNA, Small Interfering / pharmacology
  • Sulfotransferases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Sulfotransferases / genetics
  • Sulfotransferases / metabolism*


  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Heparitin Sulfate
  • Sulfotransferases
  • heparan sulfate 6-O-sulfotransferase