In this study we examine the consequences of altering Hand1 phosphoregulation in the developing neural crest cells (NCCs) of mice. Whereas Hand1 deletion in NCCs reveals a nonessential role for Hand1 in craniofacial development and embryonic survival, altering Hand1 phosphoregulation, and consequently Hand1 dimerization affinities, in NCCs results in severe mid-facial clefting and neonatal death. Hand1 phosphorylation mutants exhibit a non-cell-autonomous increase in pharyngeal arch cell death accompanied by alterations in Fgf8 and Shh pathway expression. Together, our data indicate that the extreme distal pharyngeal arch expression domain of Hand1 defines a novel bHLH-dependent activity, and that disruption of established Hand1 dimer phosphoregulation within this domain disrupts normal craniofacial patterning.
Keywords: Craniofacial development; Dimerization; Hand1; Neural crest; Phosphorylation; Transcription; bHLH.
© 2014. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.