• cranial placodes;
  • mouse;
  • transcription factor;
  • craniofacial;
  • Foxi;
  • forkhead


Recent models of craniofacial development suggest the existence of a common pan-placodal domain lying next to the neural plate, from which all sensory placodes will arise. In support of this idea, several genes are expressed in the surface ectoderm of the head adjacent to the neural plate, before the appearance of genes in specific cranial placodes. In this study, we examine the expression patterns of the mouse Foxi class genes from embryonic day 6.5 to 10.5. Foxi2 is expressed throughout the cranial ectoderm adjacent to the neural plate from the 4-somite stage, later becoming excluded from the otic placode. Foxi3 is expressed in a broad region of the pan-placodal ectoderm adjacent to the neural plate from embryonic day (E) 6.75 to the first somite stage. Its expression becomes restricted to the ectoderm and the endoderm of the branchial pouches at E10.5. Foxi1 expression is first detected in the endolymphatic duct in the otic vesicle at E10.5. These results suggest that the mouse Foxi class genes may play important roles, both during cranial placode specification and in later development of individual cranial sensory structures and other organs derived from the cranial ectoderm. Developmental Dynamics 231:640–646, 2004. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.