Chondrocyte Tsc1 controls cranial base bone development by restraining the premature differentiation of synchondroses.

Research paper by Yuan-Lynn YL Hsieh, Xiaoxi X Wei, Yating Y Wang, Honghao H Zhang, Shuqun S Qi, Di D Xie, Yuji Y Mishina, Daniela D Mendonça, Nan N Hatch, Fei F Liu

Indexed on: 10 Aug '21Published on: 09 Aug '21Published in: BONE


Cranial base bones are formed through endochondral ossification. Synchondroses are growth plates located between cranial base bones that facilitate anterior-posterior growth of the skull. Coordinated proliferation and differentiation of chondrocytes in cranial base synchondroses is essential for cranial base bone growth. Herein, we report that constitutive activation of the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) signaling via Tsc1 (Tuberous sclerosis 1) deletion in chondrocytes causes abnormal skull development with decreased size and rounded shape. In contrast to decreased anterior-posterior growth of the cranial base, mutant mice also exhibited significant expansion of cranial base synchondroses including the intersphenoid synchondrosis (ISS) and the spheno-occipital synchondrosis (SOS). Cranial base synchondrosis expansion in TSC1-deficient mice was accounted for by expansion in the resting zone due to increased cell number and size without alteration in cell proliferation. Furthermore, our data showed that mTORC1 activity is inhibited in the resting and proliferating zone chondrocytes of wild type mice, and Tsc1 deletion activated mTORC1 signaling of the chondrocytes in the resting zone area. Consequently, the chondrocytes in the resting zone of TSC1-deficient mice acquired characteristics generally attributed to pre-hypertrophic chondrocytes including high mTORC1 activity, increased cell size, and increased expression level of PTH1R (Parathyroid hormone 1 receptor) and IHH (Indian hedgehog). Lastly, treatment with rapamycin, an inhibitor of mTORC1, rescued the abnormality in synchondroses. Our results established an important role for TSC1-mTORC1 signaling in regulating cranial base bone development and showed that chondrocytes in the resting zone of synchondroses are maintained in an mTORC1-inhibitory environment. Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.