A coordinated reciprocal interaction between epithelium and mesenchyme is involved in salivary gland morphogenesis. The submandibular glands (SMGs) of Wnt1-Cre/R26R mice have been shown positive for mesenchyme, whereas the epithelium is β-galactosidase-negative, indicating that most mesenchymal cells are derived from cranial neural crest cells. Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) receptor α is one of the markers of neural crest-derived cells. In this study, we analyzed the roles of PDGFs and their receptors in the morphogenesis of mouse SMGs. PDGF-A was shown to be expressed in SMG epithelium, whereas PDGF-B, PDGFRα, and PDGFRβ were expressed in mesenchyme. Exogenous PDGF-AA and -BB in SMG organ cultures demonstrated increased levels of branching and epithelial proliferation, although their receptors were found to be expressed in mesenchyme. In contrast, short interfering RNA for Pdgfa and -b as well as neutralizing antibodies for PDGF-AB and -BB showed decreased branching. PDGF-AA induced the expression of the fibroblast growth factor genes Fgf3 and -7, and PDGF-BB induced the expression of Fgf1, -3, -7, and -10, whereas short interfering RNA for Pdgfa and Pdgfb inhibited the expression of Fgf3, -7, and -10, indicating that PDGFs regulate Fgf gene expression in SMG mesenchyme. The PDGF receptor inhibitor AG-17 inhibited PDGF-induced branching, whereas exogenous FGF7 and -10 fully recovered. Together, these results indicate that fibroblast growth factors function downstream of PDGF signaling, which regulates Fgf expression in neural crest-derived mesenchymal cells and SMG branching morphogenesis. Thus, PDGF signaling is a possible mechanism involved in the interaction between epithelial and neural crest-derived mesenchyme.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology