Experimental analysis of Msx‐1 and Msx‐2 gene expression during chick mandibular morphogenesis

Mina Mina, Jelica Gluhak, William B. Upholt, Edward J. Kollar, Barbara Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Homeobox‐containing genes are thought to be involved in regulating pattern formation in a variety of tissues during embryogenesis. We have examined the expression of the homeobox‐related genes Msx‐1 and Msx‐2 during the development of the chick mandibular arch. Northern blot hybridization indicates that transcripts for both Msx‐1 (1.6 Kb) and Msx‐2 (3 Kb) are present in the mandibular arch as early as stage 18. The levels of both transcripts in the whole mandible decrease as cartilage is formed in vivo and in vitro. Using in situ hybridization, transcripts of Msx‐1 were localized in high amounts to the mesenchyme of the mesial tips of the arches. Msx‐2 transcripts were localized in high amounts to medial regions of the arches. Little or no hybridization of either probe was detected in the chondrogenic and myogenic regions of the arches. Transcripts of both genes were also excluded from calcified bone and cartilage. Our results further demonstrate that the mesial tip mesenchyme expressing Msx‐1 includes areas of highly proliferative cells and has in vitro chondrogenic potential. The region of mesenchymal cells expressing the Msx‐2 gene overlap with areas of developmentally programmed cell death which also contain very few proliferative cells and lack chondrogenic potential in vitro. These results are consistent with the possibility that Msx‐1 may be involved in the outgrowth of the mandibular arch and Msx‐2 may be involved in both developmentally programmed cell death and delineating the non‐chondrogenic region of the medial part of the mandibular arch. © 1995 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-214
Number of pages20
JournalDevelopmental Dynamics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1995


  • Cell proliferation
  • Chick embryos
  • Chondrogenesis
  • Epithelial‐mesenchymal interactions
  • Homeobox gene expression
  • Mandibular arch development
  • Programmed cell death

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology


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