Mar 30, 2001

Retinoid signalling and skeletal development

Novartis Foundation Symposium
T M UnderhillA D Weston


Metabolites of vitamin A, including retinoic acid (RA), comprise a class of molecules known to be important in development and homeostasis. RA functions through a class of nuclear hormone receptors, the RA receptors (RARs), to regulate gene transcription. In the developing mammalian limb, RA affects the differentiation of many cell lineages, including those of the chondrogenic lineage. In excess, RA is a potent teratogen, causing characteristic skeletal defects in a stage- and dose-dependent manner. Genetic analysis has shown that the absence of RARs leads to severe deficiencies in cartilage formation at certain anatomical locations while promoting ectopic cartilage formation at other sites. Expression of either a dominant-negative or a weak constitutively active RAR in the developing limbs of transgenic mice adversely affects chondrogenesis leading to skeletal malformations. Together, these results show that RAR-mediated signalling plays a fundamental role in skeletogenesis. This chapter will focus on the function of RARs in regulating chondroblast differentiation and the contribution of RA signalling to appositional and longitudinal growth of the skeletal primordia.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Vitamin A
Genetic Analysis
Genetic Screening Method
Transcription, Genetic
House mice
Skeletal System
Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
Limb Structure
Cell Differentiation Process

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