Transient downregulation of Bmp signalling induces extra limbs in vertebrates

Development. 2012 Jul;139(14):2557-65. doi: 10.1242/dev.078774. Epub 2012 Jun 6.


Bone morphogenetic protein (Bmp) signalling has been implicated in setting up dorsoventral patterning of the vertebrate limb and in its outgrowth. Here, we present evidence that Bmp signalling or, more precisely, its inhibition also plays a role in limb and fin bud initiation. Temporary inhibition of Bmp signalling either by overexpression of noggin or using a synthetic Bmp inhibitor is sufficient to induce extra limbs in the Xenopus tadpole or exogenous fins in the Danio rerio embryo, respectively. We further show that Bmp signalling acts in parallel with retinoic acid signalling, possibly by inhibiting the known limb-inducing gene wnt2ba.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / metabolism*
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Extremities / growth & development
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Pyrazoles / pharmacology
  • Pyrimidines / pharmacology
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Regeneration / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Xenopus laevis / growth & development*
  • Xenopus laevis / metabolism
  • Zebrafish / growth & development*
  • Zebrafish / metabolism


  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • LDN 193189
  • Pyrazoles
  • Pyrimidines
  • noggin protein