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BACKGROUND: Neural crest defects lead to congenital heart disease involving outflow tract malformation. Integrin-linked-kinase (ILK) plays important roles in multiple cellular processes and embryogenesis. ILK is expressed in the neural crest, but its role in neural crest and outflow tract morphogenesis remains unknown. RESULTS: We ablated ILK specifically in the neural crest using the Wnt1-Cre transgene. ILK ablation resulted in abnormal migration and overpopulation of neural crest cells in the pharyngeal arches and outflow tract and a significant reduction in the expression of neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) and extracellular matrix components. ILK mutant embryos exhibited an enlarged common arterial trunk and ventricular septal defect. Reduced smooth muscle differentiation, but increased ossification and neurogenesis/innervation were observed in ILK mutant outflow tract that may partly be due to reduced transforming growth factor β2 (TGFβ2) but increased bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling. Consistent with these observations, microarray analysis of fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS)-sorted neural crest cells revealed reduced expression of genes associated with muscle differentiation, but increased expression of genes of neurogenesis and osteogenesis. CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrate that ILK plays essential roles in neural crest and outflow tract development by mediating complex crosstalk between cell matrix and multiple signaling pathways. Changes in these pathways may collectively result in the unique neural crest and outflow tract phenotypes observed in ILK mutants.

Original publication

DOI

10.1186/1741-7007-11-107

Type

Journal article

Journal

BMC Biol

Publication Date

16/10/2013

Volume

11

Keywords

Animals, Bone Morphogenetic Proteins, Cell Adhesion, Cell Differentiation, Cell Movement, Embryo, Mammalian, Female, Gene Deletion, Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental, Mice, Mice, Knockout, Muscle, Smooth, Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neural Crest, Phosphorylation, Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases, Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt, Signal Transduction, Transforming Growth Factor beta2, Wnt1 Protein