Meis2 is essential for cranial and cardiac neural crest development

BMC Dev Biol. 2015 Nov 6:15:40. doi: 10.1186/s12861-015-0093-6.


Background: TALE-class homeodomain transcription factors Meis and Pbx play important roles in formation of the embryonic brain, eye, heart, cartilage or hematopoiesis. Loss-of-function studies of Pbx1, 2 and 3 and Meis1 documented specific functions in embryogenesis, however, functional studies of Meis2 in mouse are still missing. We have generated a conditional allele of Meis2 in mice and shown that systemic inactivation of the Meis2 gene results in lethality by the embryonic day 14 that is accompanied with hemorrhaging.

Results: We show that neural crest cells express Meis2 and Meis2-defficient embryos display defects in tissues that are derived from the neural crest, such as an abnormal heart outflow tract with the persistent truncus arteriosus and abnormal cranial nerves. The importance of Meis2 for neural crest cells is further confirmed by means of conditional inactivation of Meis2 using crest-specific AP2α-IRES-Cre mouse. Conditional mutants display perturbed development of the craniofacial skeleton with severe anomalies in cranial bones and cartilages, heart and cranial nerve abnormalities.

Conclusions: Meis2-null mice are embryonic lethal. Our results reveal a critical role of Meis2 during cranial and cardiac neural crest cells development in mouse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cartilage / abnormalities
  • Cartilage / embryology
  • Cranial Nerves / embryology*
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / biosynthesis
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Heart / embryology*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / embryology
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / genetics
  • Hemorrhage / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Neural Crest / embryology*
  • Neural Crest / metabolism
  • Repressor Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • SOX9 Transcription Factor / biosynthesis
  • SOX9 Transcription Factor / genetics
  • Skull / embryology*
  • Skull / innervation


  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Foxd3 protein, mouse
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Mrg1 protein, mouse
  • Repressor Proteins
  • SOX9 Transcription Factor
  • Sox9 protein, mouse