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Keywords:

  • Tbx4;
  • allantois;
  • limb;
  • hindlimb;
  • lung;
  • genital tubercle;
  • mouse;
  • development

Abstract

T-box gene Tbx4 is critical for the formation of the umbilicus and the initiation of the hindlimb. Previous studies show broad expression in the allantois, hindlimb, lung and proctodeum. We have examined the expression of Tbx4 in detail and used a Tbx4-Cre line to trace the fates of Tbx4-expressing cells. Tbx4 expression and lineage reveal that various distinct appendages, such as the allantois, hindlimb, and external genitalia, all arise from a single mesenchymal expression domain. Additionally, although Tbx4 is associated primarily with the hindlimb, we find two forelimb expression domains. Most notably, we find that, despite the requirement for Tbx4 in allantoic vasculogenesis, the presumptive endothelial cells of the allantois do not express Tbx4 and lineage tracing reveals that the umbilical vasculature never expresses Tbx4. These results suggest that endothelial lineages are segregated before the onset of vasculogenesis, and demonstrate a role for the peri-vascular tissue in vasculogenesis. Developmental Dynamics 240:2290–2300, 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.