Knockdown of Slit signalling during limb development leads to a reduction in humerus length

Alexandra Rafipay, Xin-Peng Dun, David B Parkinson, Lynda Erskine, Neil Vargesson* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Slits (1-3) and their Robo (1-3) receptors play multiple non-neuronal roles in development, including in development of muscle, heart and mammary gland. Previous work has demonstrated expression of Slit and Robo family members during limb development, where their functions are unclear.

RESULTS: In situ hybridisation confirmed strong expression of Slit2, Slit3, Robo1, and Robo2 throughout mouse limb and joint development. No expression of Slit1 or Robo3 was detected. Analysis of Slit1/2 or Slit3 knockout mice revealed normal limb development. In contrast, locally blocking Slit signalling though grafting of cells expressing a dominant-negative Robo2 construct in the proximo-central region of developing chicken limb buds caused significant shortening of the humerus.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings demonstrate an essential role for Slit/Robo signalling in regulating bone length during chicken limb development. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages38
JournalDevelopmental Dynamics
Early online date21 Dec 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Dec 2020


  • Robo
  • Slit
  • Mouse
  • Mouse knockout
  • chicken
  • Hinnlimb
  • Gene expression
  • bone development


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