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The Mohawk homeobox gene is a critical regulator of tendon differentiation.

Mohawk (Mkx) is a member of the Three Amino acid Loop Extension superclass of atypical homeobox genes that is expressed in developing tendons. To investigate the in vivo functions of Mkx, we generated Mkx(-/-) mice. These mice had hypoplastic tendons throughout the body. Despite the reduction in tendon mass, the cell number in tail tendon fiber bundles was similar between wild-type and Mkx(-/-) mice. We also observed small collagen fibril diameters and a down-regulation of type I collagen in Mkx(-/-) tendons. These data indicate that Mkx plays a critical role in tendon differentiation by regulating type I collagen production in tendon cells.

Pubmed ID: 20498044


  • Ito Y
  • Toriuchi N
  • Yoshitaka T
  • Ueno-Kudoh H
  • Sato T
  • Yokoyama S
  • Nishida K
  • Akimoto T
  • Takahashi M
  • Miyaki S
  • Asahara H


Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Publication Data

June 8, 2010

Associated Grants


Mesh Terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Collagen Type I
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Tendons
  • Tensile Strength