In vivo evidence that BMP signaling is necessary for apoptosis in the mouse limb

Udayan Guha, William A. Gomes, Tatsuya Kobayashi, Richard G. Pestell, John A. Kessler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


To determine the role of Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling in murine limb development in vivo, the keratin 14 promoter was used to drive expression of the BMP antagonist Noggin in transgenic mice. Phosphorylation and nuclear translocation of Smad1/5 were dramatically reduced in limbs of the transgenic animals, confirming the inhibition of BMP signaling. These mice developed extensive limb soft tissue syndactyly and postaxial polydactyly. Apoptosis in the developing limb necrotic zones was reduced with incomplete regression of the interdigital tissue. The postaxial extra digit is also consistent with a role for BMPs in regulating apoptosis. Furthermore, there was persistent expression of Fgf8, suggesting a delay in the regression of the AER. However, Msx1 and Msx2 expression was unchanged in these transgenic mice, implying that induction of these genes is not essential for mediating BMP-induced interdigital apoptosis in mice. These abnormalities were rescued by coexpressing BMP4 under the same promoter in double transgenic mice, suggesting that the limb abnormalities are a direct effect of inhibiting BMP signaling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-120
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • BMP
  • FGF8
  • Hox
  • Keratin 14
  • Limb development
  • Msx
  • Noggin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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