Different regulation of T-box genes Tbx4 and Tbx5 during limb development and limb regeneration

Paul Khan, Barbara Linkhart, Hans Georg Simon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The T-domain transcription factors Tbx4 and Tbx5 have been implicated, by virtue of their limb-type specific expression, in controlling the identity of vertebrate legs and arms, respectively. To study the roles of these genes in developing and regenerating limbs, we cloned Tbx4 and Tbx5 cDNAs from the newt, and generated antisera that recognize Tbx4 or Tbx5 proteins. We show here that, in two urodele amphibians, newts and axolotls, the regulation of Tbx4 and Tbx5 differs from higher vertebrates. At the mRNA and protein level, both Tbx4 and Tbx5 are expressed in developing hindlimbs as well as in developing forelimbs. The coexpression of these genes argues that additional factors are involved in the control of limb type-specific patterns. In addition, newt and axolotl Tbx4 and Tbx5 expression is regulated differently during embryogenesis and regenerative morphogenesis. During regeneration, Tbx5 is exclusively upregulated in the forelimbs, whereas Tbx4 is exclusively upregulated in the hindlimbs. This indicates that, on a molecular level, different regulatory mechanisms control the shaping of identical limb structures and that regeneration is not simply a reiteration of developmental gene programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-392
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002


  • Limb development
  • Limb regeneration
  • Pattern formation
  • Tbx4
  • Tbx5

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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