Identification of candidate downstream targets of TGFβ signaling during palate development by genome-wide transcript profiling

Authors

  • Richard C. Pelikan,

    1. Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology, Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
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  • Junichi Iwata,

    1. Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology, Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
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  • Akiko Suzuki,

    1. Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology, Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
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  • Yang Chai,

    1. Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology, Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
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  • Joseph G. Hacia

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
    • Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research, University of Southern California, 1425 San Pablo Street, BCC 214, Los Angeles, CA 90089-9080.
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  • Richard C. Pelikan and Junichi Iwata contributed equally to the work.

Abstract

Nonsyndromic orofacial clefts are common birth defects whose etiology is influenced by complex genetic and environmental factors and gene–environment interactions. Although these risk factors are not yet fully elucidated, it is known that alterations in transforming growth factor-beta (TGFβ) signaling can cause craniofacial abnormalities, including cleft palate, in mammals. To elucidate the downstream targets of TGFβ signaling in palatogenesis, we analyzed the gene expression profiles of Tgfbr2fl/fl;Wnt1-Cre mouse embryos with cleft palate and other craniofacial deformities resulting from the targeted inactivation of the Tgfbr2 gene in their cranial neural crest (CNC) cells. Relative to controls, palatal tissues obtained from Tgfbr2fl/fl;Wnt1-Cre mouse embryos at embryonic day 14.5 (E14.5) of gestation have a robust gene expression signature reflective of known defects in CNC-derived mesenchymal cell proliferation. Groups of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were involved in diverse cellular processes and components associated with orofacial clefting, including the extracellular matrix, cholesterol metabolism, ciliogenesis, and multiple signaling pathways. A subset of the DEGs are known or suspected to be associated with an increased risk of orofacial clefting in humans and/or genetically engineered mice. Based on bioinformatics analyses, we highlight the functional relationships among differentially expressed transcriptional regulators of palatogenesis as well as transcriptional factors not previously associated with this process. We suggest that gene expression profiling studies of mice with TGFβ signaling defects provide a valuable approach for identifying candidate mechanisms by which this pathway controls cell fate during palatogenesis and its role in the etiology of human craniofacial abnormalities. J. Cell. Biochem. 114: 796–807, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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