Endothelial cell specification in the somite is compromised in Pax3-positive progenitors of Foxc1/2 conditional mutants, with loss of forelimb myogenesis

Alicia Mayeuf-Louchart, Didier Montarras, Catherine Bodin, Tsutomu Kume, Stéphane D. Vincent, Margaret Buckingham*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations


Pax3 and Foxc2 have been shown genetically to mutually repress each other in the mouse somite. Perturbation of this balance in multipotent cells of the dermomyotome influences cell fate; upregulation of Foxc2 favours a vascular fate, whereas higher levels of Pax3 lead to myogenesis. Foxc1 has overlapping functions with Foxc2. In Foxc1/2 double-mutant embryos, somitogenesis is severely affected, precluding analysis of somite derivatives. We have adopted a conditional approach whereby mutations in Foxc1 and Foxc2 genes were targeted to Pax3- expressing cells. Inclusion of a conditional reporter allele in the crosses made it possible to follow cells that had expressed Pax3. At the forelimb level, endothelial and myogenic cells migrate from adjacent somites into the limb bud. This population of endothelial cells is compromised in the double mutant, whereas excessive production of myogenic cells is observed in the trunk. However, strikingly, myogenic progenitors fail to enter the limbs, leading to the absence of skeletal muscle. Pax3-positive migratory myogenic progenitors, marked by expression of Lbx1, are specified in the somite at forelimb level, but endothelial progenitors are absent. The myogenic progenitors do not die, but differentiate prematurely adjacent to the somite. We conclude that the small proportion of somite-derived endothelial cells in the limb is required for the migration of myogenic limb progenitors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)872-879
Number of pages8
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2016



  • Forelimb bud
  • Foxc1
  • Foxc2
  • Mouse embryo
  • Myogenic cells
  • Pax3
  • Somitederived endothelial cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology

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