Lateral and axial signals involved in avian somite patterning: a role for BMP4

Cell. 1996 Feb 9;84(3):461-71. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(00)81291-x.


In vertebrates, muscles of the limbs and body wall derive from the lateral compartment of the embryonic somites, and axial muscles derive from the medial compartment. Whereas the mechanisms that direct patterning of somites along the dorsoventral axis are beginning to be understood, little is known about the tissue interactions and signaling molecules that direct somite patterning along the mediolateral axis. We report the identification of a specific marker for the lateral somitic compartment and its early derivatives, cSim1, an avian homolog of the Drosophila single minded gene. Using this marker, we provide evidence that specification of the lateral somitic lineage results from the antagonistic actions of a diffusible medializing signal from the neural tube and a diffusible lateralizing signal from the lateral plate mesoderm, and we implicate bone morphogenetic protein 4(BMP4) in directing this lateralization.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
  • Central Nervous System / embryology
  • Chick Embryo
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Genes, Insect
  • Genetic Markers
  • Helix-Loop-Helix Motifs / genetics
  • Helix-Loop-Helix Motifs / physiology
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Muscle, Skeletal / embryology*
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / physiology
  • Proteins / genetics*
  • Proteins / physiology*
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Signal Transduction / genetics*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Species Specificity


  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Genetic Markers
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Proteins
  • sim protein, Drosophila

Associated data

  • GENBANK/U40058