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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Feb 9;107(6):2515-20. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0913985107. Epub 2010 Feb 1.

Analysis of a gain-of-function FGFR2 Crouzon mutation provides evidence of loss of function activity in the etiology of cleft palate.

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Division of Plastic Surgery, Departments of Developmental Biology and Pathology and Immunology, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO 63110, USA.


Cleft palate is a common birth defect in humans and is a common phenotype associated with syndromic mutations in fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 (Fgfr2). Cleft palate occurred in nearly all mice homozygous for the Crouzon syndrome mutation C342Y in the mesenchymal splice form of Fgfr2. Mutant embryos showed delayed palate elevation, stage-specific biphasic changes in palate mesenchymal proliferation, and reduced levels of mesenchymal glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). Reduced levels of feedback regulators of FGF signaling suggest that this gain-of-function mutation in FGFR2 ultimately resembles loss of FGF function in palate mesenchyme. Knowledge of how mesenchymal FGF signaling regulates palatal shelf development may ultimately lead to pharmacological approaches to reduce cleft palate incidence in genetically predisposed humans.

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