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

5 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


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
Pages (from-to)1340-1357
Number of pages18
JournalDevelopmental Dynamics
Issue number9
Early online date21 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

This project was funded by an EastBio BBSRC DTP PhD Studentship to AR. The authors thank past and present lab staff for helpful discussions.


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


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