Activator-inhibitor dynamics of vertebrate limb pattern formation.
Anomalie m.p. is a spontaneous and heritable hindlimb abnormality described earlier. Twenty years later, Pleurodeles waltl larvae from the strain bearing anomalie m.p. and reared at room temperature or at 30 degrees C, expressed abnormalities (ectrodactylia, hemimelia, ectromelia). A morphological study of all the hindlimbs and an analysis of the hindlimb skeleton of samples from the experimental animals confirmed that most of the skeletal malformations were identical to those previously reported and affected the disto-proximal and prepostaxial pattern of the hindlimb. Analysis of the effects of rearing temperature on the expression of anomalie m.p. showed that the effects varied according to the developmental period at which the heat treatment was applied; the sooner the heat treatment began, the more numerous and more various were the degrees of severity of the malformations. Moreover, heat treatment induced the expression of two additional malformations not yet described: the first one, named 'reversed knee joint', was characterized by a reversal of the knee joint, and the second one, named 'twisted foot', by a downward twisting of the foot. The epigenetic effects of rearing at 30 degrees C on hindlimb development are discussed with regard to the differentiation or patterning.