The Mohawk homeobox transcription factor regulates the differentiation of tendons and volar plates

Naoko Onizuka, Yoshiaki Ito, Masayo Inagawa, Hiroyuki Nakahara, Shuji Takada, Martin Lotz, Yoshiaki Toyama, Hiroshi Asahara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: Mohawk (Mkx) is a homeodomain-containing transcription factor that is expressed in various mesoderm-derived tissues, particularly in developing tendons. In this study, we investigate the exact expression pattern and functions of Mkx in forelimbs. Methods: We analyzed the forelimbs of Mkx knockout mice [from embryonic day (E) 18.5 to postnatal day (P) 28 weeks] by using knocked-in Venus signals, Masson trichrome staining, and hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining. Results: We detected Venus signals in forelimb tendons, pulleys, and volar plates (VPs) in P21 mice. In-depth histological analysis showed that compared to the wild-type mice, the Mkx knockout mice showed significant hypoplasia in the flexor digitorum profundus tendons from E18.5. The VPs and pulleys appeared normal until P0; however, by P14, they became increasingly thicker in Mkx-null mice compared to wild-type mice. The fiber alignment was particularly disrupted in VPs of Mkx-null mice. Conclusions: These results suggest that Mkx is an important regulator of the differentiation of VPs and pulleys, as well as of tendon differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-180
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowldgments This work was supported, in part, by the Grant of National Center for Child Health and Development, Grant Number 25-1, JSPS KAKENHI, JST (CREST) and NIH AR050631 for H.A. and NIH AG-007996 for ML.


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