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Dynamical mechanisms for skeletal pattern formation in the vertebrate limb.


Journal Title:

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences


Volume 271, Number 1549


, Pages 1713-1722

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


We describe a 'reactor-diffusion' mechanism for precartilage condensation based on recent experiments on chondrogenesis in the early vertebrate limb and additional hypotheses. Cellular differentiation of mesenchymal cells into subtypes with different fibroblast growth factor (FGF) receptors occurs in the presence of spatio-temporal variations of FGFs and transforming growth factor-betas (TGF-betas). One class of differentiated cells produces elevated quantities of the extracellular matrix protein fibronectin, which initiates adhesion-mediated preskeletal mesenchymal condensation. The same class of cells also produces an FGF-dependent laterally acting inhibitor that keeps condensations from expanding beyond a critical size. We show that this 'reactor-diffusion' mechanism leads naturally to patterning consistent with skeletal form, and describe simulations of spatio-temporal distribution of these differentiated cell types and the TGF-beta and inhibitor concentrations in the developing limb bud.

Copyright information:

© 2004 The Royal Society

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