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Keywords:

  • retinoic acid;
  • vitamin A;
  • VAD;
  • Cyp26;
  • cytochrome p450;
  • hindbrain;
  • rhombomeres;
  • hox genes

Abstract

The vitamin A derivative retinoic acid performs many functions in vertebrate development and is thought to act as a diffusible morphogen that patterns the anterior–posterior axis of the hindbrain. Recent work in several systems has led to insights into how the spatial distribution of retinoic acid is regulated. These have shown local control of synthesis and degradation, and computational models suggest that degradation by the Cyp26 enzymes plays a critical role in the formation of a morphogen gradient as well as its ability to compensate for fluctuations in RA levels. Developmental Dynamics 237:2775–2790, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.