Join us to hear visiting scientist Associate Professor Gage Crump from the University of Southern California discuss his research on skeletal cell plasticity in both building and rebuilding craniofacial structures.
VENUE: Level 5 Seminar Room, Melbourne Brain Centre, The University of Melbourne
TIME: 4-5PM (Refreshments to follow)
TITLE: Skeletal Cell Plasticity in Development and Regeneration of the Vertebrate Face
ABSTRACT: Patterning of the vertebrate craniofacial skeleton involves the precise temporal and spatial control of the differentation of mesenchymal cells into bone or cartilage. We have used TALEN-mediated mutagenesis and high-resolution imaging in the zebrafish face to understand the regulation of mesenchymal cell fate in development and regeneration. First, I will describe how a suite of genes control the proportions of cartilage and bone in the develoing head, thus imparting distinct skeletal morphologies to the upper and lower jaw support skeleton. Second, I will present a new role for Iroquois family transcription factors in patterning cartilaginous joints in the face by arresting chondrocytes at an early state of maturation. Third, I will discuss a new model of bone regeneration in the adult zebrafish jaw in which cells with an identity intermediate between bone and cartilage appear to rapidly restore bone. Together, our studies are revealing unexpected plasticity between mesenchymal cell types that is important for both building and rebuilding craniofacial structures.
BIO: I use the zebrafish model to understand the genetic and cellular basis by which the craniofacial skeleton is assembled, as well as how this structure is maintained and repaired through adulthood. During my PhD, I discovered a new family of SAD protein kinases required for synapse assembly and neuronal polarity in both nematodes and mammals. As a postdoc in Dr. Charles Kimmel’s lab, and later as a faculty member at USC, I have used time-lapse imaging, lineage tracing, and genetics to define the origins of the neural crest cells that make the facial skeleton, as well as the intrinsic and extrinsic signals that pattern these precursors into distinct skeletal shapes.