Cell lineage specification and signalling pathway use during development of the lateral plate mesoderm and forelimb mesenchyme

Axel H. Newton, Sarah M. Williams, Andrew T. Major, Craig A. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The lateral plate mesoderm (LPM) is a transient tissue that produces a diverse range of differentiated structures, including the limbs. However, the molecular mechanisms that drive early LPM specification and development are poorly understood. In this study, we use single-cell transcriptomics to define the cell-fate decisions directing LPM specification, subdivision and early initiation of the forelimb mesenchyme in chicken embryos. We establish a transcriptional atlas and global cell-cell signalling interactions in progenitor, transitional and mature cell types throughout the developing forelimb field. During LPM subdivision, somatic and splanchnic LPM fate is achieved through activation of lineage-specific gene modules. During the earliest stages of limb initiation, we identify activation of TWIST1 in the somatic LPM as a putative driver of limb bud epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. Furthermore, we define a new role for BMP signalling during early limb development, revealing that it is necessary for inducing a somatic LPM fate and initiation of limb outgrowth, potentially through activation of TBX5. Together, these findings provide new insights into the mechanisms underlying LPM development, somatic LPM fate choice and early initiation of the vertebrate limb.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2022


  • Chicken
  • EMT
  • Limb
  • LPM
  • scRNA-seq
  • Transcriptomics

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