Of vertebrate organ systems, the developing limb has been especially well characterized. Morphological studies have yielded a wealth of information describing limb outgrowth and have allowed for the identification of a multitude of important factors. In terms of the latter, key signaling pathways are known to control numerous aspects of limb development, including establishment of the early limb field, determination of limb identity, elongation of the limb bud, specification of digit pattern, and sculpting of the digits. Modification of underlying signaling pathways can thus result in dramatic alterations of the limb phenotype, accounting for many of the diverse limb patterns observed in nature. Given this, it is clear that signaling pathways regulate the highly orchestrated and tightly controlled sequence of cellular events necessary for limb outgrowth; however, exactly how molecular signals interface with the cell biology of limb development remains largely a mystery. In this review we first provide an overview of a number of the morphogenetic signaling pathways that have been identified in the developing limb and then review how a subset of these signals are known to modify cell behaviors important for limb outgrowth. (C) 2001 Academic Press.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cell Biology