Background: The actin cytoskeleton-associated protein palladin plays an important role in cell motility, morphogenesis and adhesion. In mice, Palladin deficient embryos are lethal before embryonic day (E) 15.5, and exhibit severe cranial neural tube and body wall closure defects. However, the mechanism how palladin regulates the process of cranial neural tube closure (NTC) remains unknown.
Methods: In this paper, we use gene knockout mouse to elucidate the function of palladin in the regulation of NTC process.
Results: We initially focuse on the expression pattern of palladin and found that in embryonic brain, palladin is predominantly expressed in the neural folds at E9.5. We further check the major cellular events in the neural epithelium that may contribute to NTC during the early embryogenesis. Palladin deficiency leads to a disturbance of cytoskeleton in the neural tube and the cultured neural progenitors. Furthermore, increased cell proliferation, decreased cell differentiation and diminished apical cell apoptosis of neural epithelium are found in palladin deficient embryos. Cell cycle of neural progenitors in Palladin -/- embryos is much shorter than that in wt ones. Cell adhesion shows a reduction in Palladin -/- neural tubes.
Conclusions: Palladin is expressed with proper spatio-temporal pattern in the neural folds. It plays a crucial role in regulating mouse cranial NTC by modulating cytoskeleton, proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, and adhesion of neural epithelium. Our findings facilitate further study of the function of palladin and the underlying molecular mechanism involved in NTC.
Keywords: Apoptosis; Cytoskeleton; Differentiation; Neural tube defect; Palladin; Proliferation.