* joint first author # joint corresponding author

Jacqueline Tabler, Maggie M Rigney, Gordon J Berman, Swetha Gopalakrishnan, Eglantine Heude, Hadeel Adel Al-Lami, Basil Z Yannakoudakis, Rebecca D Fitch, Crystal N. Carter, Steven A Vokes, Karen J Liu, Shahragim Tajbakhsh, Se Roian Egnor, John Wallingford
Cilia-mediated Hedgehog signaling controls form and function in the mammalian larynx.
Elife, 6 Art. No. e19153 (2017)
Open Access PDF DOI
Acoustic communication is fundamental to social interactions among animals, including humans. In fact, deficits in voice impair the quality of life for a large and diverse population of patients. Understanding the molecular genetic mechanisms of development and function in the vocal apparatus is thus an important challenge with relevance both to the basic biology of animal communication and to biomedicine. However, surprisingly little is known about the developmental biology of the mammalian larynx. Here, we used genetic fate mapping to chart the embryological origins of the tissues in the mouse larynx, and we describe the developmental etiology of laryngeal defects in mice with disruptions in cilia-mediated Hedgehog signaling. In addition, we show that mild laryngeal defects correlate with changes in the acoustic structure of vocalizations. Together, these data provide key new insights in the molecular genetics of form and function in the mammalian vocal apparatus.

Jacqueline Tabler, Christopher P Rice, Karen J Liu, John Wallingford
A novel ciliopathic skull defect arising from excess neural crest.
Dev Biol, 417(1) 4-10 (2016)
The skull is essential for protecting the brain from damage, and birth defects involving disorganization of skull bones are common. However, the developmental trajectories and molecular etiologies by which many craniofacial phenotypes arise remain poorly understood. Here, we report a novel skull defect in ciliopathic Fuz mutant mice in which only a single bone pair encases the forebrain, instead of the usual paired frontal and parietal bones. Through genetic lineage analysis, we show that this defect stems from a massive expansion of the neural crest-derived frontal bone. This expansion occurs at the expense of the mesodermally-derived parietal bones, which are either severely reduced or absent. A similar, though less severe, phenotype was observed in Gli3 mutant mice, consistent with a role for Gli3 in cilia-mediated signaling. Excess crest has also been shown to drive defective palate morphogenesis in ciliopathic mice, and that defect is ameliorated by reduction of Fgf8 gene dosage. Strikingly, skull defects in Fuz mutant mice are also rescued by loss of one allele of fgf8, suggesting a potential route to therapy. In sum, this work is significant for revealing a novel skull defect with a previously un-described developmental etiology and for suggesting a common developmental origin for skull and palate defects in ciliopathies.

Jacqueline Tabler, Trióna G Bolger, John Wallingford, Karen J Liu
Hedgehog activity controls opening of the primary mouth.
Dev Biol, 396(1) 1-7 (2014)
To feed or breathe, the oral opening must connect with the gut. The foregut and oral tissues converge at the primary mouth, forming the buccopharyngeal membrane (BPM), a bilayer epithelium. Failure to form the opening between gut and mouth has significant ramifications, and many craniofacial disorders have been associated with defects in this process. Oral perforation is characterized by dissolution of the BPM, but little is known about this process. In humans, failure to form a continuous mouth opening is associated with mutations in Hedgehog (Hh) pathway members; however, the role of Hh in primary mouth development is untested. Here, we show, using Xenopus, that Hh signaling is necessary and sufficient to initiate mouth formation, and that Hh activation is required in a dose-dependent fashion to determine the size of the mouth. This activity lies upstream of the previously demonstrated role for Wnt signal inhibition in oral perforation. We then turn to mouse mutants to establish that SHH and Gli3 are indeed necessary for mammalian mouth development. Our data suggest that Hh-mediated BPM persistence may underlie oral defects in human craniofacial syndromes.

Jacqueline Tabler, William B Barrell, Heather L Szabo-Rogers, Christopher Healy, Yvonne Yeung, Elisa Gomez Perdiguero, Christian Schulz, Basil Z Yannakoudakis, Aida Mesbahi, Bogdan Wlodarczyk, Frederic Geissmann, Richard H Finnell, John Wallingford, Karen J Liu
Fuz mutant mice reveal shared mechanisms between ciliopathies and FGF-related syndromes.
Dev Cell, 25(6) 623-635 (2013)
Open Access PDF DOI
Ciliopathies are a broad class of human disorders with craniofacial dysmorphology as a common feature. Among these is high arched palate, a condition that affects speech and quality of life. Using the ciliopathic Fuz mutant mouse, we find that high arched palate does not, as commonly suggested, arise from midface hypoplasia. Rather, increased neural crest expands the maxillary primordia. In Fuz mutants, this phenotype stems from dysregulated Gli processing, which in turn results in excessive craniofacial Fgf8 gene expression. Accordingly, genetic reduction of Fgf8 ameliorates the maxillary phenotypes. Similar phenotypes result from mutation of oral-facial-digital syndrome 1 (Ofd1), suggesting that aberrant transcription of Fgf8 is a common feature of ciliopathies. High arched palate is also a prevalent feature of fibroblast growth factor (FGF) hyperactivation syndromes. Thus, our findings elucidate the etiology for a common craniofacial anomaly and identify links between two classes of human disease: FGF-hyperactivation syndromes and ciliopathies.