PRMT5 is essential for the maintenance of chondrogenic progenitor cells in the limb bud

Jacqueline L. Norrie, Qiang Li, Swanie Co, Bau Lin Huang, Ding Ding, Jann C. Uy, Zhicheng Ji, Susan Mackem, Mark T. Bedford, Antonella Galli, Hongkai Ji, Steven A. Vokes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


During embryonic development, undifferentiated progenitor cells balance the generation of additional progenitor cells with differentiation. Within the developing limb, cartilage cells differentiate from mesodermal progenitors in an ordered process that results in the specification of the correct number of appropriately sized skeletal elements. The internal pathways by which these cells maintain an undifferentiated state while preserving their capacity to differentiate is unknown. Here, we report that the arginine methyltransferase PRMT5 has a crucial role in maintaining progenitor cells. Mouse embryonic buds lacking PRMT5 have severely truncated bones with wispy digits lacking joints. This novel phenotype is caused by widespread cell death that includes mesodermal progenitor cells that have begun to precociously differentiate into cartilage cells. We propose that PRMT5 maintains progenitor cells through its regulation of Bmp4. Intriguingly, adult and embryonic stem cells also require PRMT5 for maintaining pluripotency, suggesting that similar mechanisms might regulate lineage-restricted progenitor cells during organogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4608-4619
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 15 2016


  • BMP4
  • Chondrogenesis
  • Limb development
  • PRMT5
  • Progenitor cells
  • SOX9

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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