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Development. 2013 Jan 1;140(1):76-81. doi: 10.1242/dev.080473. Epub 2012 Nov 15.

Distinct requirements for wnt9a and irf6 in extension and integration mechanisms during zebrafish palate morphogenesis.

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Center for Regenerative Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


Development of the palate in vertebrates involves cranial neural crest migration, convergence of facial prominences and extension of the cartilaginous framework. Dysregulation of palatogenesis results in orofacial clefts, which represent the most common structural birth defects. Detailed analysis of zebrafish palatogenesis revealed distinct mechanisms of palatal morphogenesis: extension, proliferation and integration. We show that wnt9a is required for palatal extension, wherein the chondrocytes form a proliferative front, undergo morphological change and intercalate to form the ethmoid plate. Meanwhile, irf6 is required specifically for integration of facial prominences along a V-shaped seam. This work presents a mechanistic analysis of palate morphogenesis in a clinically relevant context.

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