Int. J. Dev. Biol. 52: 857 - 871 (2008)
doi: 10.1387/ijdb.072416mf
© UBC Press

The Apical Ectodermal Ridge: morphological aspects and signaling pathways

Marian Fernandez-Teran1 and Maria A. Ros*,2

1Departamento de Anatomía y Biología Celular. Universidad de Cantabria and 2Instituto de Biomedicina y Biotecnología de Cantabria, IBBTEC (CSIC-UC-IDICAN), Santander, Spain.

ABSTRACT The Apical Ectodermal Ridge (AER) is one of the main signaling centers during limb development. It controls outgrowth and patterning in the proximo-distal axis. In the last few years a considerable amount of new data regarding the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying AER function and structure has been obtained. In this review, we describe and discuss current knowledge of the regulatory networks which control the induction, maturation and regression of the AER, as well as the link between dorso-ventral patterning and the formation and position of the AER. Our aim is to integrate both recent and old knowledge to produce a wider picture of the AER which enhances our understanding of this relevant structure.

Keywords:

apical ectodermal ridge, AER, limb development, FGF, dorso-ventral patterning, double ridge

*Corresponding author e-mail: rosm@unican.es