Articles by Allyson E. Kennedy in JoVE
Other articles by Allyson E. Kennedy on PubMed
Median Facial Clefts in Xenopus Laevis: Roles of Retinoic Acid Signaling and Homeobox Genes Developmental Biology. May, 2012 | Pubmed ID: 22405964 The upper lip and primary palate form an essential separation between the brain, nasal structures and the oral cavity. Surprisingly little is known about the development of these structures, despite the fact that abnormalities can result in various forms of orofacial clefts. We have uncovered that retinoic acid is a critical regulator of upper lip and primary palate development in Xenopus laevis. Retinoic acid synthesis enzyme, RALDH2, and retinoic acid receptor gamma (RARγ) are expressed in complementary and partially overlapping regions of the orofacial prominences that fate mapping revealed contribute to the upper lip and primary palate. Decreased RALDH2 and RARγ result in a median cleft in the upper lip and primary palate. To further understand how retinoic acid regulates upper lip and palate morphogenesis we searched for genes downregulated in response to RARγ inhibition in orofacial tissue, and uncovered homeobox genes lhx8 and msx2. These genes are both expressed in overlapping domains with RARγ, and together their loss of function also results in a median cleft in the upper lip and primary palate. Inhibition of RARγ and decreased Lhx8/Msx2 function result in decreased cell proliferation and failure of dorsal anterior cartilages to form. These results suggest a model whereby retinoic acid signaling regulates Lhx8 and Msx2, which together direct the tissue growth and differentiation necessary for the upper lip and primary palate morphogenesis. This work has the potential to better understand the complex nature of the upper lip and primary palate development which will lead to important insights into the etiology of human orofacial clefts.
Quantitative Analysis of Orofacial Development and Median Clefts in Xenopus Laevis Anatomical Record (Hoboken, N.J. : 2007). Jan, 2014 | Pubmed ID: 24443252 Xenopus has become a useful tool to study the molecular mechanisms underlying orofacial development. However, few quantitative analyses exist to describe the anatomy of this region. In this study we combine traditional facial measurements with geometric morphometrics to describe anatomical changes in the orofacial region during normal and abnormal development. Facial measurements and principal component (PC) analysis indicate that during early tadpole development the face expands primarily in the midface region accounting for the development of the upper jaw and primary palate. The mouth opening correspondingly becomes flatter and wider as it incorporates the jaw elements. A canonical variate analysis of orofacial and mouth opening shape emphasized that changes in the orofacial shape occur gradually. Orofacial anatomy was quantified after altered levels of retinoic acid using all-trans retinoic acid or an inhibitor of retinoic acid receptors or by injecting antisense oligos targeting RALDH2. Such perturbations resulted in major decreases in the width of the midface and the mouth opening illustrated in facial measurements and a PC analysis. The mouth opening shape also had a gap in the primary palate resulting in a median cleft in the mouth opening that was only illustrated quantitatively in the morphometric analysis. Finally, canonical and discriminant function analysis statistically distinguished the orofacial and mouth opening shape changes among the different modes used to alter retinoic acid signaling levels. By combining quantitative analyses with molecular studies of orofacial development we will be better equipped to understand the complex morphogenetic processes involved in palate development and clefting. Anat Rec, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.