The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 49: 325 - 333 (2005)

Vol 49, Issue 2-3

Special Issue: The Nogent Institute

Three developmental compartments involved in rib formation

Published: 1 May 2005

Hirohiko Aoyama*,1, Supyoko Mizutani-Koseki2 and Haruhiko Koseki2,3

1Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Hiroshima University, Minami-ku, Hiroshima, Japan, 2Department of Molecular Embryology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chuoh-ku, Chiba, Japan and 3RIKEN Research Center for Allergy and Immunology, Yokohama, Japan


When the thoracic somitic mesoderm was separated from the neural tube and the notochord with a piece of aluminum foil in two-day chick embryos, seven days after the operation ribs lacked their proximal part. The embryos were rescued by co-transplanting the notochord, the ventral half of neural tube, or QT6 cells transformed with Shh, on the somite side of the aluminum foil insert. Thus, proximal rib development depends on the notochord and the ventral neural tube, an effect which might be mediated through Shh secreted by these axial tissues. On the other hand, when the thoracic somitic mesoderm was separated from the surface ectoderm by a piece of polyethylene terephthalate film, the distal parts of the ribs were missing, suggesting that distal rib development depends on surface ectoderm. In these embryos, expression of Pax3 was weak and perturbed showing that the dermomyotome developed abnormally. It is not clear whether the development of distal rib is mediated by the dermomyotome, or the ectoderm. It has previously been shown that sternal rib development depends on lateral plate mesoderm. As to the distal rib, it is considered to be composed of two parts. Thus, the rib is composed of three developmental compartments, in agreement with a recently presented classification of somite derivatives as primaxial and abaxial.


proximal rib, distal rib, somitic mesoderm, Shh, surface ectoderm

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