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A positional information gradient of Sonic Hedgehog is required for flight feather formation in the avian wing

AuthorsBusby, Lara; Aceituno, Cristina; McQueen, Caitlin; Rich, Constance A.; Ros, María A. ; Towers, Matthew
Issue Date3-Jul-2019
CitationLimb Development and Regeneration: New Tools for a Classic Model System EMBO Workshop (2019)
AbstractThe flight feathers of the wing are unique amongst feather types in possessing bilateral asymmetry and forming ligamentous connections to the ulna and digits, features which are important for their function in bird flight. Classical tissue recombination experiments have suggested a role for signals acting in the early chick limb bud in specifying the position and identity of feathers. In this study we show the Sonic Hedgehog is a key signal which provides a positional information gradient necessary for the production of adult flight feathers. We reveal that Shh signalling specifies the identity of feathers in a defined sequence that closely mirrors the order in which it specifies the anterior to posterior pattern of digits. In addition, we use RNA-sequencing to understand how Shh signalling acting early in the limb bud is required for the activation of a molecular programme for flight feathers much later in development. We identify a number of genes, including Sim1 and Zic1, whose expression is spatially and temporally associated with the flight feather domain. Our results unexpectedly reveal polarising region-derived Sonic Hedgehog as an important molecular player in flight feather development. We suggest that a key transition in the evolution of flight feathers and flight itself may have been the co-option of the pre-existing digit patterning mechanism to patterning of feathers on the integument of the wing.
DescriptionTrabajo presentado en el Limb Development and Regeneration: New Tools for a Classic Model System EMBO Workshop, celebrado en Barcelona (España) del 2 al 5 de julio de 2019.
Appears in Collections:(IBBTEC) Comunicaciones congresos
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