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Keywords:

  • prdm1a;
  • neural crest;
  • craniofacial development;
  • zebrafish;
  • pharyngeal arches;
  • endodermal pouches;
  • Fgf signaling;
  • retinoic acid signaling

Abstract

Multiple tissue interactions and signaling within the pharyngeal arches are required for development of the craniofacial skeleton. Here, we focus on the role of the transcription factor prdm1a in the differentiation of the posterior skeleton. prdm1a is expressed in the presumptive pharyngeal arch region and later in an endodermal pouch, the otic vesicle, and pharyngeal teeth. prdm1a mutants display a reduction in pharyngeal arch markers, a loss of posterior ceratobranchial cartilages, and a reduction in most neural crest–derived dermal bones. This is likely caused by a decrease in the number of proliferating cells but not an increase in cell death. Finally, a reduction in two key developmental signaling pathways, Fgf and retinoic acid, alters prdm1a expression, suggesting that prdm1a expression is mediated by these signaling pathways to pattern the posterior craniofacial skeleton. Together, these results indicate an essential role for prdm1a in the development of the zebrafish craniofacial skeleton. Developmental Dynamics 238:2575–2587, 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.