Indexed on: 27 Jul '01Published on: 27 Jul '01Published in: The Journal of experimental zoology
Multiple studies indicate that quantitative control of the levels of all-trans-retinoic acid (RA) in the vertebrate embryo is necessary for correct development. The function of RA in cells is regulated by a number of coordinated mechanisms. One of those mechanisms involves controls on the rate of RA catabolism. Recently, enzymes capable of catabolizing RA were found to constitute a new family, called CYP26, within the cytochrome P450 superfamily. CYP26 homologues have been isolated from human, mouse, zebra fish, and recently from the chick. In this study, we examined the regulation of chicken CYP26 (cCYP26) expression by RA during the early phase of chick limb outgrowth. In the anterior limb mesenchyme and apical ectodermal ridge (AER), cCYP26 expression was induced in a concentration dependent manner by implanting beads soaked in 0.1, 1, and 5 mg/ml RA. The RA-induced expression of cCYP26 in anterior limb mesenchyme and the AER was detected as early as 1 hr after treatment and was not affected by the presence of cycloheximide. In contrast to the anterior limb, the induction of cCYP26 was dramatically reduced (or absent) when RA beads were implanted in the posterior limb mesenchyme. Furthermore, induction of cCYP26 expression in the anterior mesenchyme was inhibited by transplantations of the zone of polarizing activity (ZPA) and by Shh-soaked beads. Our data suggest that different mechanisms regulate retinoid homeostasis in the AER and mesenchyme during limb bud outgrowth. J. Exp. Zool. 290:136-147, 2001.