Spatial and temporal expression of c-Kit in the development of the murine submandibular gland
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The c-Kit pathway is important in the development of many mammalian cells and organs and is indispensable for the development of hematopoiesis, melanocytes, and primordial germ cells. Loss-of-function mutations in c-Kit lead to perinatal death in mouse embryos. Previously, c-Kit has been used as one of salivary epithelial stem or progenitor cell markers in mouse, its specific temporo-spatial expression pattern and function in developing murine submandibular gland (SMG) is still unclear. Here we used quantitative real-time PCR, in situ hybridization, and immunohistochemistry analysis to detect c-Kit expression during the development of the murine SMG. We found that c-Kit was expressed in the epithelia of developing SMGs from embryonic day 11.5 (E11.5; initial bud stage) to postnatal day 90 (P90; when the SMG is completely mature). c-Kit expression in the end bud epithelium increased during prenatal development and then gradually decreased after birth until its expression was undetectable in mature acini at P30. Moreover, c-Kit was expressed in the SMG primordial cord at the initial bud, pseudoglandular, canacular, and terminal end bud stages. c-Kit was also expressed in the presumptive ductal cells adjacent to the developing acini. By the late terminal end bud stage on P14, c-Kit expression could not be detected in ductal cells. However, c-Kit expression was detected in ductal cells at P30, and its expression had increased dramatically at P90. Taken together, these findings describe the spatial and temporal expression pattern of c-Kit in the developing murine SMG and suggest that c-Kit may play roles in epithelial histo-morphogenesis and in ductal progenitor cell homeostasis in the SMG.
Keywordsc-Kit Submandibular gland Development Mouse
The authors thank Mr. Miao for his expert help in staging the embryos and in selecting the sections. This work was supported by grants from the National Basic Research Program of China (No. 2010CB944801), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81271101 to Z.P.F. and 30901692 to S.Q.), the Program for New Century Excellent Talents in University (NCET-12-0611 to Z.P.F.), Beijing Municipal Natural Science Foundation (7102067 to S.Q.), and High-level Talents of the Beijing Health System (2013-3-035 to Z.P.F.).
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no potential conflicts of interest.
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