Dchs1-Fat4 regulation of polarized cell behaviours during skeletal morphogenesis

Yaopan Mao, Anna Kuta, Ivan Crespo-Enriquez, Danielle Whiting, Tina Martin, Joanna Mulvaney, Kenneth D. Irvine*, Philippa Francis-West

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)
187 Downloads (Pure)


Skeletal shape varies widely across species as adaptation to specialized modes of feeding and locomotion, but how skeletal shape is established is unknown. An example of extreme diversity in the shape of a skeletal structure can be seen in the sternum, which varies considerably across species. Here we show that the Dchs1-Fat4 planar cell polarity pathway controls cell orientation in the early skeletal condensation to define the shape and relative dimensions of the mouse sternum. These changes fit a model of cell intercalation along differential Dchs1-Fat4 activity that drives a simultaneous narrowing, thickening and elongation of the sternum. Our results identify the regulation of cellular polarity within the early pre-chondrogenic mesenchyme, when skeletal shape is established, and provide the first demonstration that Fat4 and Dchs1 establish polarized cell behaviour intrinsically within the mesenchyme. Our data also reveal the first indication that cell intercalation processes occur during ventral body wall elongation and closure.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11469
JournalNature Communications
Early online date5 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2016


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