A regulatory loop between the fibroblast growth factors FGF-8 and FGF-10 plays a key role in limb initiation and AER induction in vertebrate embryos. Here, we show that three WNT factors signaling through β-catenin act as key regulators of the FGF-8/FGF-10 loop. The Wnt-2b gene is expressed in the intermediate mesoderm and the lateral plate mesoderm in the presumptive chick forelimb region. Cells expressing Wnt-2b are able to induce Fgf-10 and generate an extra limb when implanted into the flank. In the presumptive hindlimb region, another Wnt gene, Wnt-8c, controls Fgf-10 expression, and is also capable of inducing ectopic limb formation in the flank. Finally, we also show that the induction of Fgf-8 in the limb ectoderm by FGF-10 is mediated by the induction of Wnt-3a. Thus, three WNT signals mediated by β-catenin control both limb initiation and AER induction in the vertebrate embryo.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)