Site-Specific Expression of Gelatinolytic Activity during Morphogenesis of the Secondary Palate in the Mouse Embryo

Gkantidis, Nikolaos; Blumer, Susan; Katsaros, Christos; Graf, Daniel; Chiquet, Matthias (2012). Site-Specific Expression of Gelatinolytic Activity during Morphogenesis of the Secondary Palate in the Mouse Embryo. PLoS ONE, 7(10), e47762. Lawrence, Kans.: Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0047762

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Morphogenesis of the secondary palate in mammalian embryos involves two major events: first, reorientation of the two vertically oriented palatal shelves into a horizontal position above the tongue, and second, fusion of the two shelves at the midline. Genetic evidence in humans and mice indicates the involvement of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). As MMP expression patterns might differ from sites of activity, we used a recently developed highly sensitive in situ zymography technique to map gelatinolytic MMP activity in the developing mouse palate. At embryonic day 14.5 (E14.5), we detected strong gelatinolytic activity around the lateral epithelial folds of the nasopharyngeal cavity, which is generated as a consequence of palatal shelf elevation. Activity was concentrated in the basement membrane of the epithelial fold but extended into the adjacent mesenchyme, and increased in intensity with lateral outgrowth of the cavity at E15.5. Gelatinolytic activity at this site was not the consequence of epithelial fold formation, as it was also observed in Bmp7-deficient embryos where shelf elevation is delayed. In this case, gelatinolytic activity appeared in vertical shelves at the exact position where the epithelial fold will form during elevation. Mmp2 and Mmp14 (MT1-MMP), but not Mmp9 and Mmp13, mRNAs were expressed in the mesenchyme around the epithelial folds of the elevated palatal shelves; this was confirmed by immunostaining for MMP-2 and MT1-MMP. Weak gelatinolytic activity was also found at the midline of E14.5 palatal shelves, which increased during fusion at E15.5. Whereas MMPs have been implicated in palatal fusion before, this is the first report showing that gelatinases might contribute to tissue remodeling during early stages of palatal shelf elevation and formation of the nasopharynx.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > School of Dental Medicine > Department of Orthodontics

UniBE Contributor:

Gkantidis, Nikolaos; Blumer, Susanne; Katsaros, Christos and Chiquet, Matthias


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Public Library of Science




Eveline Carmen Schuler

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:30

Last Modified:

25 Jan 2017 12:16

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Web of Science ID:




URI: (FactScience: 217362)

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