Intestinal cell kinase regulates chondrocyte proliferation and maturation during skeletal development
An autosomal recessive loss-of-function mutation R272Q in human ICK (intestinal cell kinase) gene causes profound multiplex developmental defects in human ECO (endocrine-cerebro-osteodysplasia) syndrome. ECO patients exhibit a wide variety of skeletal abnormalities, yet the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms by which ICK regulates skeletal development remain largely unknown. The goal of this study is to understand the structural and mechanistic basis underlying skeletal anomalies caused by ICK dysfunction. Ick R272Q knock in transgenic mouse model not only recapitulated major ECO skeletal defects such as short limbs and polydactyly but also revealed a deformed spine with deficient intervertebral disc. Loss of ICK functions markedly reduces mineralization in the spinal column, ribs, and long bones. Ick mutants show a significant decrease in the number of proliferating chondrocytes and type X collagen-expressing hypertrophic chondrocytes in the spinal column and the growth plate of long bones. Our results demonstrate that ICK plays an important role in bone and intervertebral disc development by promoting chondrocyte proliferation and maturation, and thus provide novel mechanistic insights into the skeletal phenotypes of human ECO syndrome.
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