Vertebrate limb development

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 1995 Aug;5(4):478-84. doi: 10.1016/0959-437x(95)90052-i.


The recent identification of Wnt-7a as a signalling molecule in dorsal/ventral patterning means that we now have a known signal for control of each of the three limb axes. Fibroblast growth factors can allow proximal/distal patterning and Sonic hedgehog gene expression signals anterior/posterior patterning. Networks of these signals not only coordinate cell responses, but also mutually maintain each other. A positive feedback loop is established which coordinates expression of Sonic hedgehog in mesenchyme cells of the polarizing region and Fgf-4 expression in overlying apical ridge ectoderm. Wnt-7a expression in dorsal ectoderm also influences Sonic hedgehog expression in the polarizing region. Initiation of development of a complete limb can be achieved with just one signal, a growth factor.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Embryonic Induction*
  • Extremities / embryology
  • Extremities / growth & development*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Limb Buds / embryology
  • Proteins / physiology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Trans-Activators*
  • Vertebrates / embryology*


  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Proteins
  • Trans-Activators