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    Development of the palate is a dynamic process, which involves vertical growth of bilateral palatal shelves next to the tongue followed by elevation and fusion above the tongue. Defects in this process lead to cleft palate, a common birth defect. Recent studies have shown that palatal shelf elevation involves a remodeling process that transforms the orientation of the shelf from a vertical to a horizontal one. The role of the palatal shelf mesenchymal cells in this dynamic remodeling has been difficult to study. Time-lapse-imaging-based quantitative analysis has been recently used to show that primary mouse embryonic palatal mesenchymal (MEPM) cells can self-organize into a collective movement. Quantitative analyses could identify differences in mutant MEPM cells from a mouse model with palate elevation defects. This paper describes methods to isolate and culture MEPM cells from E13.5 embryos-specifically for time-lapse imaging-and to determine various cellular attributes of collective movement, including measures for stream formation, shape alignment, and persistence of direction. It posits that MEPM cells can serve as a proxy model for studying the role of palatal shelf mesenchyme during the dynamic process of elevation. These quantitative methods will allow investigators in the craniofacial field to assess and compare collective movement attributes in control and mutant cells, which will augment the understanding of mesenchymal remodeling during palatal shelf elevation. Furthermore, MEPM cells provide a rare mesenchymal cell model for investigation of collective cell movement in general.


    Jeremy P Goering, Dona Greta Isai, Andras Czirok, Irfan Saadi. Isolation and Time-Lapse Imaging of Primary Mouse Embryonic Palatal Mesenchyme Cells to Analyze Collective Movement Attributes. Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE. 2021 Feb 13(168)

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    PMID: 33645552

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