In order to analyse target genes regulated by retinoic acid in urodele limb regeneration, we have used pseudotyped retroviruses to obtain stably transfected newt limb blastemal (progenitor) cells in culture which express chimeric retinoic acid/thyroid hormone receptors δ1 or δ2. After treatment with thyroid hormone to activate the chimeric receptors, we used a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based subtraction method to identify target genes which are retinoid regulated. Newt connective tissue growth factor, a secreted protein recognised in several vertebrates, has been identified in this way and found to be expressed in the limb blastema and regulated by retinoic acid. This approach should permit a systematic analysis of retinoid target genes in limb regeneration.
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