The role of Hoxa2 and characterization of its new downstream targets in murine palatogenesis
Smith, Tara Marie
Hoxa2 null embryos display a high incidence of cleft secondary palate which has previously been described as secondary to altered tongue development. The experiments described in this thesis demonstrate that expression of Hoxa2 does occur within the developing palate, with the highest levels appearing in the early stages of palatogenesis (E12.5 and E13.5). Increased cell proliferation was observed throughout the palate in the absence of Hoxa2, without a detectable difference in apoptosis or the ability of the shelves to fuse. In addition, the palate shelves of the null embryos failed to elevate above the tongue, suggesting a mechanism by which the increased cell proliferation results in cleft palate. Numerous downstream targets of Hoxa2 were also identified in the palate (Msx1, Bmp4, Barx1, Ptx1, Six2, Lef1 and Tbx1). In all cases, Hoxa2 appears to act as a transcriptional repressor. Increases in palatal Msx1, Bmp4 and Barx1 expression have all been previously described to lead to increases in cell proliferation. Hoxa2, Ptx1, Lef1 and Tbx1 may be involved in a novel pathway that regulates proliferation in the palate. In addition, three novel gene targets were identified in the palate, Six2, Fgf8 and Htra3. Together these data show that there is a direct role for Hoxa2 in regulating palate development, apparently through regulating the expression of downstream genes involved in maintaining normal cell proliferation rates.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
DepartmentCollege of Pharmacy and Nutrition
ProgramCollege of Pharmacy and Nutrition
SupervisorNazarali, Adil J.
CommitteeDobson, Roy; Lozanoff, Scott; Paterson, Phyllis; Singh, Baljit; Kulyk, William
Copyright DateSeptember 2009
secondary palate development