Evolutionary repression of chondrogenic genes in the vertebrate osteoblast
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Gene expression in extant animals might reveal how skeletal cells have evolved over the past 500 million years. The cells that make up cartilage (chondrocytes) and bone (osteoblasts) express many of the same genes, but they also have important molecular differences that allow us to distinguish them as separate cell types. For example, traditional studies of later-diverged vertebrates, such as mouse and chick, defined the genes Col2a1 and sex-determining region Y-box 9 as cartilage-specific. However, recent studies have shown that osteoblasts of earlier-diverged vertebrates, such as frog, gar, and zebrafish, express these 'chondrogenic' markers. In this review, we examine the resulting hypothesis that chondrogenic gene expression became repressed in osteoblasts over evolutionary time. The amphibian is an underexplored skeletal model that is uniquely positioned to address this hypothesis, especially given that it diverged when life transitioned from water to land. Given the relationship between phylogeny and ontogeny, a novel discovery for skeletal cell evolution might bolster our understanding of skeletal cell development.
CitationNguyen, J. K. B., Eames, B. F., (2020). Evolutionary repression of chondrogenic genes in the vertebrate osteoblast. The Febs Journal, [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1111/febs.15228
osteoblast molecular fingerprint
skeletal cell evolution