Functional analysis of SOX9 in chondrogenesis by targeted gene inactivation

Weimin Bi, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Sox9 is a Sry-related HMG-domain containing transcription factor. Lines of evidence suggest that Sox9 has a potential role in skeletal development. During mouse development, Sox9 is predominantly expressed in all chondroprogenitors and differentiated chondrocytes, throughout the deposition of cartilage matrix. Mutations in one allele of SOX9 in humans result in campomelic dysplasia (CD), a skeletal dysplasia. syndrome characterized by the bowing of long bones. Moreover, Sox9 binds to and activates chondrocyte-specific enhancers in Col2a1 and Col11a2 genes. To further investigate the function of Sox9 in chondrogenesis, we analyzed chimeras derived from Sox9 heterozygous and homozygous null embryonic stem (ES) cells. In mouse chimeras, Sox9 −/− cells were excluded from all cartilages and did not express chondrocyte-specific genes. The segregation occurred during mesenchymal condensation. No cartilages developed in teratocarcinomas derived from Sox9 −/− ES cells. Mice heterozygous for the Sox9 mutation died neonatally and exhibited skeletal abnormalities resembling those of the CD patients. The Sox9 +/− mutants had a cleft palate and hypoplasia of scapula, pelvis and other skeletal structures derived by endochondral ossification. Bending of the radius, ulna and tibia cartilage was prominent at embryonic day 14.5 (E14.5). At E12.5 many pre-cartilaginous condensations were already defective. Advanced ossification was observed and the hypertrophic zone was enlarged in the growth plates, suggesting that Sox9 also regulates hypertrophic chondrocyte differentiation. Our results identify Sox9 as the first essential regulator of chondrocyte differentiation, which plays multiple roles in chondrogenesis.

Subject Area

Molecular biology|Genetics

Recommended Citation

Bi, Weimin, "Functional analysis of SOX9 in chondrogenesis by targeted gene inactivation" (1999). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9959005.