Cranial suture development involves coordinated expression of multiple genes and tissue contribution from neural crest cells and paraxial mesoderm for timely sutural morphogenesis. Transcription factors, growth factors, and neural crest determinant genes play critical roles in calvarial growth ensuring normal development of the underlying brain. In vitro studies have implicated cell-cell adhesion molecules as a driving force behind suture closure. We performed cDNA microarray to study differential expression of adhesion molecules during the timing of suture closure in a mouse model where only the posterior frontal (PF) suture closes. Our results indicate increased expression of E-cadherin during the period of PF suture closure. Quantitative RT-PCR analysis of E- and N-cadherin in PF closing suture revealed a biphasic expression of N-cadherin, the first phase coinciding with cellular condensation preceding chondrogenesis followed by a second phase coinciding with E-cadherin co-expression and suture closure. Furthermore, expression analysis of the N-cadherin and E-cadherin transcriptional repressors Wnt7a and Snail indicate a specific temporal regulation of these genes, suggesting their potential role as regulators of both E- and N-cadherin during the PF suture development and closure. Finally, given the in vitro evidence of fibroblast growth factor (FGF)-2 as a potential regulator of E- and N-cadherin we investigated the expression of E-cadherin during PF suture closure in Fgf-2 deficient mice. In contrast to in vitrodata previously reported, E-cadherin expression is normal in these animals, and PF suture closure occurs properly, probably due to potential redundancy of FGF ligands ensuring normal temporal expression of E-cadherin and PF suture closure.
- Cranial Suture
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