We investigated whether Tbx1, the gene for 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11.2DS) and Foxi3, both required for segmentation of the pharyngeal apparatus (PA) to individual arches, genetically interact. We found that all Tbx1;Foxi3 double heterozygous mouse embryos had thymus and parathyroid gland defects, similar to those in 22q11.2DS patients. We then examined Tbx1 and Foxi3 heterozygous, null as well as conditional Tbx1 and Sox17 null mutant embryos. While Tbx1;Foxi3 embryos had absent thymus and parathyroid glands, Foxi3 and Sox17;Foxi3 endoderm conditional mutant embryos had in addition, interrupted aortic arch type B and retroesophageal origin of the right subclavian artery, which are all features of 22q11.2DS. Tbx1;Foxi3 embryos had failed invagination of the third pharyngeal pouch with greatly reduced Gcm2 and Foxn1 expression, thereby explaining the absence of thymus and parathyroid glands. Immunofluorescence on tissue sections with Ecadherin and ZO-1 antibodies in wildtype mouse embryos at E8.5-E10.5, revealed that multilayers of epithelial cells form where cells are invaginating as a normal process. We noted that excessive multilayers formed in Foxi3, Sox17;Foxi3 as well as Tbx1 null mutant embryos where invagination should have occurred. Several genes expressed in the PA epithelia were downregulated in both Tbx1 and Foxi3 null mutant embryos including Notch pathway genes Jag1, Hes1, and Hey1, suggesting that they may, along with other genes, act downstream to explain the observed genetic interaction. We found Alcam and Fibronectin extracellular matrix proteins were reduced in expression in Foxi3 null but not Tbx1 null embryos, suggesting that some, but not all of the downstream mechanisms are shared.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Molecular Biology
- Cancer Research