UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health


Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health


Cell dynamics of skull morphogenesis

Title: Cell dynamics of skull morphogenesis

Jacqueline M. Tabler, MPI-CBG, Dresden, Germany

Abstract: Complex shape is often associated with anisotropic growth, where tissues do not grow equally in all directions. In the neurocranium, calvarial bones extend anisotropically which can accommodate expansion of an underlying brain. Although this spatiotemporal pattern of growth is, therefore, an important feature of bone morphogenesis the cellular dynamics that generate such anisotropy is not known. By tracking osteoblast nuclei ex vivo, we find that anisotropic expansion of frontal bones is driven by both intrinsic and extrinsic growth mechanisms. We explore our live imaging with mathematical modelling which suggests that physical structure governs the anisotropic motion of osteoblasts intrinsic to the bone primordium. Further, and contrary to previous reports, we also find that a progressive wave of differentiation extrinsic to the bone is required to explain bone expansion. Spatiotemporal control of differentiation may also be linked to the emergent physical structure of bone, together, suggesting that biophysical inputs are an important feature of shape generation in early skull development.

Keywords: Bone, Morphogenesis, live-imaging, differentiation, oriented cell division

Biosketch: Jacqueline transitioned to craniofacial biology after her PhD with Jeremy Green at Kings College London where she studied cell polarity and differentiation in Xenopus. During her postdoc between the labs of Karen Liu, KCL and John Wallingford at the University of Texas at Austin she found that early neural crest expansion drives ciliopathic craniofacial phenotypes such as high-arched palate, laryngeal dysgenesis and vocalization defects. In her independent work at the Max-Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, she is combines live and fixed tissue imaging with theoretical approaches to explore biophysical control of morphogenesis and fate balance in the mammalian skull.