Prenatal retinoic acid exposure reveals candidate genes for craniofacial disorders
Scientific Reports. 2018-11; :
Syndromes that display craniofacial anomalies comprise a major class of birth defects. Both genetic and environmental factors, including prenatal retinoic acid (RA) exposure, have been associated with these syndromes. While next generation sequencing has allowed the discovery of new genes implicated in these syndromes, some are still poorly characterized such as Oculo-Auriculo-Vertebral Spectrum (OAVS). Due to the lack of clear diagnosis for patients, developing new strategies to identify novel genes involved in these syndromes is warranted. Thus, our study aimed to explore the link between genetic and environmental factors. Owing to a similar phenotype of OAVS reported after gestational RA exposures in humans and animals, we explored RA targets in a craniofacial developmental context to reveal new candidate genes for these related disorders. Using a proteomics approach, we detected 553 dysregulated proteins in the head region of mouse embryos following their exposure to prenatal RA treatment. This novel proteomic approach implicates changes in proteins that are critical for cell survival/apoptosis and cellular metabolism which could ultimately lead to the observed phenotype. We also identified potential molecular links between three major environmental factors known to contribute to craniofacial defects including maternal diabetes, prenatal hypoxia and RA exposure. Understanding these links could help reveal common key pathogenic mechanisms leading to craniofacial disorders. Using both in vitro and in vivo approaches, this work identified two new RA targets, Gnai3 and Eftud2, proteins known to be involved in craniofacial disorders, highlighting the power of this proteomic approach to uncover new genes whose dysregulation leads to craniofacial defects.