The epithelial disintegration and the mesenchymal bridging are critical steps in the fusion of facial prominences during the upper lip development. These processes of epithelial-mesenchymal transition and programmed cell death are mainly influenced by Wnt signals. Axis inhibition protein2 (Axin2), a major component of the Wnt pathway, has been reported to be involved in lip development and cleft pathogenesis. We wanted to study the involvement of Axin2 in the lip development, especially during the epithelial disintegration of facial prominences. Our results show that Axin2 was expressed mainly in the epithelium of facial prominences and decreased when the prominences were about to contact each other between Hamburger-Hamilton stages 27 and 28 of chicken embryos. The epithelial integrity was destructed or kept intact by the local gain or loss of Axin2 expression, resulting in morphological changes in the facial processes and their skeletal derivatives including the maxilla, nasal, premaxilla bone, and their junctions without cleft formation. These changes were related to expression changes in nuclear β-catenin, pGSK3β, Slug, Smad3, E-cadherin, and p63. All these data indicate that Axin2 participates in the regulation of epithelial integrity and fusion by promoting epithelial disassociation, basement membrane breakdown, and seam loss during the fusion of facial prominences in lip development.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding information This research was supported by the basic science research program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) and funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning (NRF-2017R1A2B4005319) for S.-H. Lee.
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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental Biology