SOXcessful control of skeletal cell fate and differentiation
Our research goals are to deepen current understanding of the genetic and molecular mechanisms that specify cell lineage identity, differentiation and maturation in the skeletal system under developmental, adult, and pathological conditions. We mainly work on defining the central roles and modes of regulation of SOX transcription factors. These factors form a family of twenty members in humans and higher vertebrates. Most of them pivotally control the lineage commitment and differentiation of discrete cell types such that, as a whole, the SOX family is involved in generating most, if not all, cell types that compose our bodies. Our research has contributed to the identification of two SOX trios that have key roles in the skeletal system. One one hand, SOX9 synergizes with SOX5 and SOX6 to specify the commitment and activity of chondrocytes. On the other hand, SOX4, SOX11, and SOX12 work largely in redundancy to control the identify and lineage fate of progenitor/stem cells in the skeletal system and others. The seminar will focus on newly discovered roles and modes of actions of SOX9 and its functional partners at the onset of chondrogenesis.