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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The mechanism of palatal clefting in the Col11a1 mutant mouse.

The occurrence of cleft palate in mutant mice offers an opportunity to understand the possible role of specific genes in palatogenesis. Here, cleft palate in mice carrying the chondrodysplasia (cho) defect, which consists of an autosomal-recessive mutation in the collagen gene Col11a1, was investigated. The proposed cause of cleft palate in cho homozygous mice is failure of the palatal shelves to adhere and make contact due to mandibular growth abnormalities. Another cause of cleft palate that has recently been demonstrated in other animal models is failure of the midline epithelial seam forming between the shelves to undergo epithelial-mesenchymal transformation (EMT). The present strategy to test the likelihood of this second possibility was to culture the unfused cho/cho palatal shelves at different stages of development to see if they were capable of adhering and undergoing EMT in vitro. By using carboxydichlorofluorescein succinimidyl ester to trace the fate of the medial-edge epithelium (MEE), it was shown that cho/cho palates have full potential for MEE adherence and EMT up to embryonic day 17.5/18.5, when epithelia keratinize before birth, preventing the adherence of both the normal and homozygous palatal shelves. Thus, the major effect of the mutant collagen gene on the palate is likely to be via mandibular growth disruption. The possibility that unfused palatal shelves in other clinical syndromes can adhere and undergo EMT if brought into contact at appropriate times before birth has important therapeutic implications.[1]


  1. The mechanism of palatal clefting in the Col11a1 mutant mouse. Lavrin, I.O., McLean, W., Seegmiller, R.E., Olsen, B.R., Hay, E.D. Arch. Oral Biol. (2001) [Pubmed]
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