Post-natal skeletal stem cells expressing PRX1 (pnPRX1+) have been identified in the calvaria and in the axial skeleton. Here we characterize the location and functional capacity of the calvarial pnPRX1+ cells. We found that pnPRX1+ reside exclusively in the calvarial suture niche and decrease in number with age. They are distinct from preosteoblasts and osteoblasts of the sutures, respond to WNT signaling in vitro and in vivo by differentiating into osteoblasts, and, upon heterotopic transplantation, are able to regenerate bone. Diphtheria toxin A (DTA)-mediated lineage ablation of pnPRX1+ cells and suturectomy perturb regeneration of calvarial bone defects and confirm that pnPRX1+ cells of the sutures are required for bone regeneration. Orthotopic transplantation of sutures with traceable pnPRX1+ cells into wild-type animals shows that pnPRX1+ cells of the suture contribute to calvarial bone defect regeneration. DTA-mediated lineage ablation of pnPRX1+ does not, however, interfere with calvarial development.
Keywords: PRRX1; PRX1; calvarial bone regeneration; calvarial development; calvarial skeletal stem cells; stem cell niche.
Copyright © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.