Irx1 and Irx2 are coordinately expressed and regulated by retinoic acid, TGFß and FGF signaling during chick hindlimb development.

PloS one

PubMedID: 23505533

Díaz-Hernández ME, Bustamante M, Galván-Hernández CI, Chimal-Monroy J. Irx1 and Irx2 are coordinately expressed and regulated by retinoic acid, TGFß and FGF signaling during chick hindlimb development. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(3):e58549.
The Iroquois homeobox (Irx) genes play a crucial role in the regionalization and patterning of tissues and organs during metazoan development. The Irx1 and Irx2 gene expression pattern during hindlimb development has been investigated in different species, but its regulation during hindlimb morphogenesis has not been explored yet. The aim of this study was to evaluate the gene expression pattern of Irx1 and Irx2 as well as their regulation by important regulators of hindlimb development such as retinoic acid (RA), transforming growth factor ß (TGFß) and fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signaling during chick hindlimb development. Irx1 and Irx2 were coordinately expressed in the interdigital tissue, digital primordia, joints and in the boundary between cartilage and non-cartilage tissue. Down-regulation of Irx1 and Irx2 expression at the interdigital tissue coincided with the onset of cell death. RA was found to down-regulate their expression by a bone morphogenetic protein-independent mechanism before any evidence of cell death. Furthermore, TGFß protein regulated Irx1 and Irx2 in a stage-dependent manner at the interdigital tissue, it inhibited their expression when it was administered to the interdigital tissue at developing stages before their normal down-regulation. TGFß administered to the interdigital tissue at developing stages after normal down-regulation of Irx1 and Irx2 evidenced that expression of these genes marked the boundary between cartilage tissue and non-cartilage tissue. It was also found that at early stages of hindlimb development FGF signaling inhibited the expression of Irx2. In conclusion, the present study demonstrates that Irx1 and Irx2 are coordinately expressed and regulated during chick embryo hindlimb development as occurs in other species of vertebrates supporting the notion that the genomic architecture of Irx clusters is conserved in vertebrates.