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03.03.2020 A dot-stripe mechanism proposed for joint patterning provides new unifying theory

last modified Mar 16, 2020 09:52 PM
Cornwall Scoones and Hiscock propose a dot-stripe Turing mechanism that can account for joint patterns in creatures ranging from extinct reptiles and whale fins to mammalian paws, providing a unifying framework to study joint development
03.03.2020 A dot-stripe mechanism proposed for joint patterning provides new unifying theory

Fig 7. An ancestral dot-stripe mechanism may explain diversity of skeletal morphology in limbs and fins

A dot-stripe Turing model of joint patterning in the tetrapod limb

Cornwall Scoones J and Hiscock TW (2020) Development dev.183699. DOI: 10.1242/dev.183699.

 

Abstract from the paper

Iterative joints are a hallmark of the tetrapod limb, and their positioning is a key step during limb development. Whilst the molecular regulation of joint formation is well-studied, it remains unclear what controls the location, number and orientation (i.e. the pattern) of joints within each digit.

Here we propose the dot-stripe mechanism for joint patterning, comprising two coupled Turing systems inspired by published gene expression patterns. Our model can explain normal joint morphology in wildtype limbs, hyperphalangy in cetacean flippers, mutant phenotypes with misoriented joints and suggests a reinterpretation of the polydactylous Ichthyosaur fins as a polygonal joint lattice.

By formulating a generic dot-stripe model, describing joint patterns rather than molecular joint markers, we demonstrate that the insights from the model should apply regardless of the biological specifics of the underlying mechanism, thus providing a unifying framework to interrogate joint patterning in the tetrapod limb.

 

Scoones Hiscock Fig1

Extract from Fig 1.

(C) A Turing system that spontaneously breaks symmetry to form dots.

(D) A different Turing system that spontaneously breaks symmetry to form stripes.

(E) Schematic of the coupled dot-stripe mechanism.

(F) Simulation of the dot-stripe model results in evenly spaced dots (red) with interspersed stripes (blue).

 

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