Numerous signals drive the proliferative expansion of the distal endoderm and the underlying mesenchyme during lung branching morphogenesis, but little is known about how these signals are integrated. Here, we show by analysis of conditional double mutants that the two T-box transcription factor genes Tbx2 and Tbx3 act together in the lung mesenchyme to maintain branching morphogenesis. Expression of both genes depends on epithelially derived Shh signaling, with additional modulation by Bmp, Wnt, and Tgfβ signaling. Genetic rescue experiments reveal that Tbx2 and Tbx3 function downstream of Shh to maintain pro-proliferative mesenchymal Wnt signaling, in part by direct repression of the Wnt antagonists Frzb and Shisa3. In combination with our previous finding that Tbx2 and Tbx3 repress the cell-cycle inhibitors Cdkn1a and Cdkn1b, we conclude that Tbx2 and Tbx3 maintain proliferation of the lung mesenchyme by way of at least two molecular mechanisms: regulating cell-cycle regulation and integrating the activity of multiple signaling pathways.
Lüdtke, T. H., Rudat, C., Wojahn, I., Weiss, A. C., Kleppa, M. J., Kurz, J., … Kispert, A. (2016). Tbx2 and Tbx3 Act Downstream of Shh to Maintain Canonical Wnt Signaling during Branching Morphogenesis of the Murine Lung. Developmental Cell, 39(2), 239–253. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.devcel.2016.08.007