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Cell Tissue Res. 2013 Jul;353(1):27-40. doi: 10.1007/s00441-013-1632-8. Epub 2013 May 4.

Temporospatial gene expression of Prx1 and Prx2 is involved in morphogenesis of cranial placode-derived tissues through epithelio-mesenchymal interaction during rat embryogenesis.

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Organization for the Strategic Coordination of Research and Intellectual Property, Meiji University, Kanagawa, 214-8571, Japan.


Paired-related homeobox transcription factors, PRX1 and PRX2, are verified to play essential roles in limb, heart and craniofacial development by analyses of knockout animals. Their gene expression in the embryonic primordia derived from the mesoderm and neural crest is confirmed by in situ hybridization. Nevertheless, a detailed localization of PRX1 and PRX2 was not carried out because of a lack of specific antibodies for each factor. We have previously confirmed the presence of PRX proteins in rat embryonic pituitary by using an antibody that recognizes both PRX1 and PRX2. However, the pituitary originates in the cranial placodes, not the mesoderm or neural crest. In this study, we analyze the temporospatial distribution of PRX1 and PRX2 with novel antibodies specific for each factor, together with a stem/progenitor marker SOX2 (sex-determining region Y-box 2) in the primordia formed by epithelio-mesenchymal interaction. We observe immunoreactive signals of both PRX proteins in rat embryo, showing a similar pattern to that obtained by in situ hybridization. In early embryogenesis, PRX proteins are not co-localized with SOX2 but PRX2 and/or PRX1-positive cells are present in the border or periphery of SOX2-positive primordia originating in the cranial placode. During advanced embryogenesis, either PRX2-positive cells become condensed in the border of SOX2-positive cells or PRX1 and/or PRX2 become co-localized with SOX2. Our results suggest that PRX proteins, especially PRX2, play a role in the morphogenesis of the primordial tissues formed by the epithelio-mesenchymal interaction and that neural crest cells contribute to the morphogenesis of tissues derived from the cranial placode.

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