Disruption of Fgf10/Fgfr2b-coordinated epithelial-mesenchymal interactions causes cleft palate

J Clin Invest. 2004 Jun;113(12):1692-700. doi: 10.1172/JCI20384.


Classical research has suggested that early palate formation develops via epithelial-mesenchymal interactions, and in this study we reveal which signals control this process. Using Fgf10-/-, FGF receptor 2b-/- (Fgfr2b-/-), and Sonic hedgehog (Shh) mutant mice, which all exhibit cleft palate, we show that Shh is a downstream target of Fgf10/Fgfr2b signaling. Our results demonstrate that mesenchymal Fgf10 regulates the epithelial expression of Shh, which in turn signals back to the mesenchyme. This was confirmed by demonstrating that cell proliferation is decreased not only in the palatal epithelium but also in the mesenchyme of Fgfr2b-/- mice. These results reveal a new role for Fgf signaling in mammalian palate development. We show that coordinated epithelial-mesenchymal interactions are essential during the initial stages of palate development and require an Fgf-Shh signaling network.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Cleft Palate / etiology
  • Cleft Palate / metabolism*
  • Culture Techniques
  • Epithelium / physiology*
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 10
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 7
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / genetics
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / metabolism*
  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling
  • Mesoderm / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Palate / cytology
  • Palate / embryology*
  • Receptor, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Type 2
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor / genetics
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor / metabolism*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Trans-Activators / genetics
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism


  • Fgf10 protein, mouse
  • Fgf7 protein, mouse
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 10
  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Shh protein, mouse
  • Trans-Activators
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 7
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors
  • Receptor, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Type 2