Mcrs1 is required for branchial arch and cranial cartilage development

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Developmental biology






Branchial arch; Branchio-oto-renal syndrome; Meckel's; Neural crest; Otic; Placodes; Six1


Mcrs1 is a multifunctional protein that is critical for many cellular processes in a wide range of cell types. Previously, we showed that Mcrs1 binds to the Six1 transcription factor and reduces the ability of the Six1-Eya1 complex to upregulate transcription, and that Mcrs1 loss-of-function leads to the expansion of several neural plate genes, reduction of neural border and pre-placodal ectoderm (PPR) genes, and pleiotropic effects on various neural crest (NC) genes. Because the affected embryonic structures give rise to several of the cranial tissues affected in Branchio-otic/Branchio-oto-renal (BOR) syndrome, herein we tested whether these gene expression changes subsequently alter the development of the proximate precursors of BOR affected structures - the otic vesicles (OV) and branchial arches (BA). We found that Mcrs1 is required for the expression of several OV genes involved in inner ear formation, patterning and otic capsule cartilage formation. Mcrs1 knockdown also reduced the expression domains of many genes expressed in the larval BA, derived from either NC or PPR, except for emx2, which was expanded. Reduced Mcrs1 also diminished the length of the expression domain of tbx1 in BA1 and BA2 and interfered with cranial NC migration from the dorsal neural tube; this subsequently resulted in defects in the morphology of lower jaw cartilages derived from BA1 and BA2, including the infrarostral, Meckel's, and ceratohyal as well as the otic capsule. These results demonstrate that Mcrs1 plays an important role in processes that lead to the formation of craniofacial cartilages and its loss results in phenotypes consistent with reduced Six1 activity associated with BOR.


Anatomy and Regenerative Biology