Embryos show a remarkable capacity for perfect repair after injury. Wounding of embryonic skin triggers rapid activation of epithelial sweeping and mesenchymal contraction tissue movements that bear striking analogy to several naturally occurring morphogenetic tissue movements, but very little is known about the early molecular signals that might initiate such movements. Here, we describe the rapid and transient up-regulation of two immediate early genes, krox-24 and krox-20, after wounding of the embryonic mouse. Furthermore, we demonstrate that these signals are conserved, but of longer duration, in the neonate and adult wound situation. To further test the roles of these transcription factors in vivo, we performed wound healing studies on embryos lacking either Krox-24 or 20. Despite the dramatic up-regulation of these genes in response to injury, our studies reveal that neither of them on their own is essential for repair.
Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.