Connective tissue is an irreplaceable component of the musculoskeletal system; however it has attracted far less attention than other tissue types. Odd-skipped is a drosophila pair-rule gene involved in embryonic segmentation. In mammals, two odd-skipped paralogs exist, Osr1 and Osr2. Odd-skipped genes encode zinc-finger transcription factors expressed in several organs of the developing embryo. For Osr1, functions in heart and kidney development have been described, while Osr2 has been linked to secondary palate formation and tooth development. We have analysed the expression of Osr1 and Osr2 in the chick limb and found both genes to be highly specific for irregular connective tissue.
We have recently shown that Osr1 and Osr2 are both involved in the differentiation of irregular connective tissue fibroblasts and are potent inhibitors of mesenchymal differentiation along other cell lineages(Stricker et al. 2012). We aim at further analysing the role of Osr genes in development of the connective tissue and the communication of connective tissue cells with other cell types during limb development.
This project is a part of the international graduate school for Myology, “MyoGrad”