Identification and characterization of Lbh, a novel conserved nuclear protein expressed during early limb and heart development

K J Briegel, A L Joyner
Developmental Biology 2001 May 15, 233 (2): 291-304
We report the cloning, protein characterization, and expression of a novel vertebrate gene, termed Lbh (Limb-bud-and-heart), with a spatiotemporal expression pattern that marks embryologically significant domains in the developing limbs and heart. Lbh encodes a highly conserved nuclear protein, which in tissue culture cells possesses a transcriptional activator function. During limb development, expression of Lbh initiates in the ectoderm of the presumptive limb territory in the lateral body wall. As the limb buds appear, Lbh expression is restricted primarily to the distal ventral limb ectoderm and the apical ectodermal ridge, and overlaps in these ectodermal compartments with En1 and Fgf8 expression. During heart formation, Lbh is expressed as early as Nkx2.5 and dHand in the bilateral heart primordia, with the highest levels in the anterior promyocardium. After heart tube fusion and looping, Lbh expression is confined to the ventricular myocardium, with the highest intensity in the right ventricle and atrioventricular canal, as well as in the sinus venosus. Based on the molecular characteristics and the domain-specific expression pattern, it is possible that Lbh functions in synergy with other genes known to be required for heart and limb development.

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