Apr 8, 2020

Cleft lip and cleft palate in Esrp1 knockout mice is associated with alterations in epithelial-mesenchymal crosstalk

SungKyoung LeeRuss P Carstens


Cleft lip is one of the most common human birth defects. However, there remain a limited number of mouse models of cleft lip that can be leveraged to characterize the genes and mechanisms that cause this disorder. Crosstalk between epithelial and mesenchymal cells underlies formation of the face and palate, but the basic molecular events mediating this crosstalk remain poorly understood. We previously demonstrated that mice lacking the epithelial-specific splicing factor Esrp1 have fully penetrant bilateral cleft lip and palate. In this study, we further investigated the mechanisms leading to cleft lip as well as cleft palate in both existing and new Esrp1 mutant mouse models. These studies included a detailed transcriptomic analysis of changes in ectoderm and mesenchyme in Esrp1-/- embryos during face formation. We identified altered expression of genes previously implicated in cleft lip and/or palate, including components of multiple signaling pathways. These findings provide the foundation for detailed investigations using Esrp1 mutant disease models to examine gene regulatory networks and pathways that are essential for normal face and palate development - the disruption of which leads to orofacial clefting in human patients.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Epithelial-mesenchymal Cell Signaling
Cleft Lip
Gene Regulatory Networks
Mouse Model
Laboratory mice
Signal Pathways
ESRP1 protein, human

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