Journal of bioscience and bioengineering

Retinoic acid regulates Lhx8 expression via FGF-8b to the upper jaw development of chick embryo.

PMID 25239070


Expression of the LIM homeodomain transcription factor Lhx8 is restricted to and up-regulated in the mesenchyme of the upper face prominence before lip fusion. Msx1/2 acts in early development to control cell proliferation and differentiation. Deficiency of these genes is associated with nonsyndromic cleft lip with/without cleft palate. Since retinoid is a potential patterning influence on the developing face, we have examined whether retinoic acid (RA) signaling regulated Lhx8, Msx1 and Msx2 transcription through fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signals in the maxillary prominence. Application of exogenous RA caused severe defects of the maxilla. Citral also induced a specific loss of derivatives from the maxillary prominences by blocking RA synthesis. Real-time RT-PCR and semi-quantitative RT-PCR analysis of the maxillary mesenchyme revealed that the expressions of Lhx8, Msx1 and Msx2 were significantly down-regulated by RA as well as by citral. The downregulated Lhx8 was rescued by combined treatment with FGF-8b, which indicated a downstream of RA signaling. FGF-8b induced up-regulated Lhx8 expression whereas SU5402, a pan-FGF family antagonist, down-regulated and caused defective maxillary morphogenesis and cleft lip. Our data suggest that Lhx8 is regulated by RA signaling through FGF signals and the level window of RA and FGF-8b could control the upper jaw morphogenesis.