The development of the axial skeleton is a complex process, consisting of segmentation and differentiation of somites and ossification of the vertebrae. The autosomal recessive skeletal fusion with sterility (sks) mutation of the mouse causes skeletal malformations due to fusion of the vertebrae and ribs, but the underlying defects of vertebral formation during embryonic development have not yet been elucidated. For the present study, we examined the skeletal phenotypes of sks/sks mice during embryonic development and the chromosomal localization of the sks locus. Multiple defects of the axial skeleton, including fusion of vertebrae and fusion and bifurcation of ribs, were observed in adult and neonatal sks/sks mice. In addition, we also found polydactyly and delayed skull ossification in the sks/sks mice. Morphological defects, including disorganized vertebral arches and fusions and bifurcations of the axial skeletal elements, were observed during embryonic development at embryonic day 12.5 (E12.5) and E14.5. However, no morphological abnormality was observed at E11.5, indicating that defects of the axial skeleton are caused by malformation of the cartilaginous vertebra and ribs at an early developmental stage after formation and segmentation of the somites. By linkage analysis, the sks locus was mapped to an 8-Mb region of chromosome 4 between D4Mit331 and D4Mit199. Since no gene has already been identified as a cause of malformation of the vertebra and ribs in this region, the gene responsible for sks is suggested to be a novel gene essential for the cartilaginous vertebra and ribs.
- Mutant mouse
- Skeletal defect
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)