The role of Lmx1b in the control of dorsoventral compartmentalization in the distal mesenchyme of the developing mouse limb

Qiong Qiu, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Lmx1b encodes a LIM-homeodomain transcription factor required for dorso-ventral (D-V) patterning in the mesenchyme of the vertebrate limb. In the absence of Lmx1b function, limbs exhibit a bi-ventral pattern indicating that Lmx1b is required for cells to adopt a dorsal cell fate. However, how Lmx1b specifies dorsal cell fates in the mesenchyme of the distal limb is unknown. Lmx1b is initially expressed throughout the dorsal and ventral limb bud mesenchyme, then becomes dorsally restricted around E10.5. At this stage, there is a sharp boundary between Lmx1b expressing and Lmx1b non-expressing cells. How the dorso-ventral Lmx1b expression boundary is formed and maintained is currently unknown. One mechanism that may contribute to establishing and/or maintaining the Lmx1b expression boundary is if the dorsal mesenchyme is a lineage-based compartment, where different groups of non-mingling cells are separated. Compartment formation has been proposed to rely on compartment-specific selector gene activity which functions to restrict cells to a compartment and specifies the identity of cells within that compartment. Based on the evidence that the dorsal limb identity relies on the expression of Lmx1b in the dorsal half of the limb mesenchyme, we hypothesized that Lmx1b might function as a dorsal limb bud mesenchyme selector gene to set up a dorsal compartment. To test this hypothesis, we developed an inducible CreERT2/ loxP based fate mapping approach that permanently marks Lmx1b wild-type and mutant cells and examined the distribution of their descendents in the developing limb. Our data is the first to show that dorso-ventral lineage compartments exist in the limb bud mesenchyme. Furthermore, Lmx1b is required for maintenance of the dorso-ventral compartment lineage boundary. The behavior of Lmx1b mutant cells that cross into the ventral mesenchyme, as well as previous chimera analysis in which mutant cells spread evenly in the ventral limb and form patches in the dorsal side, suggest that cell affinity differences prevent intermingling of dorsal and ventral cells.

Subject Area

Genetics|Anatomy & physiology|Animals|Molecular biology

Recommended Citation

Qiu, Qiong, "The role of Lmx1b in the control of dorsoventral compartmentalization in the distal mesenchyme of the developing mouse limb" (2005). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3195267.