legless insertional mutation: Morphological, molecular, and genetic characterization

Gurparkash Singh, Dorothy M. Supp, Claire Schreiner, John McNeish, H. J. Merker, Neal G. Copeland, Nancy A. Jenkins, S. Steven Potter, William Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Limb morphogenesis is an excellent model system to study pattern formation during vertebrate development. The legless (lgl) insertional mutation can serve as a tool to analyze specific events in limb development at the embryologic, genetic, and molecular levels. Hemizygous mice of this transgenic line are phenotypically normal, but homozygous mutants are inviable and exhibit limb, brain, and craniofacial malformations, as well as situs inversus. By morphological analysis of mutant hindlimb buds we show absence of a normal apical ectodermal ridge, a structure required for limb bud outgrowth, and an unusually high degree of mesenchymal and ectodermal cell death. Mutant embryos are extremely sensitive to retinoic acid, a known teratogen with a proposed role in limb development. The hindlimb malformations in legless mutants are less severe when bred into the BALB/c background, suggesting the involvement of other strain-specific genes. Molecular analysis of the disrupted region indicates two tightly linked insertion sites. Sequences flanking the transgene insertions have been cloned and mapped to chromosome 12, near the iv (situs inversus viscerum) locus. Consistent with this, complementation tests confirm allelism of lgl and iv and suggest that the transgene insertion may have disrupted more than one gene. Phylogenetically conserved sequences flanking the transgene insertions were identified and used to isolate candidate lgl and iv cDNAs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2245-2255
Number of pages11
JournalGenes and Development
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1991


  • Insertional mutation
  • iv locus and transgenic mice
  • Limb development
  • Visceral asymmetry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'legless insertional mutation: Morphological, molecular, and genetic characterization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this