Craniofacial development requires precise spatiotemporal regulation of multiple signaling pathways that crosstalk to coordinate the growth and patterning of the skull with surrounding tissues. Recent insights into these signaling pathways and previously uncharacterized progenitor cell populations have refined our understanding of skull patterning, bone mineralization and tissue homeostasis. Here, we touch upon classical studies and recent advances with an emphasis on developmental and signaling mechanisms that regulate the osteoblast lineage for the calvaria, which forms the roof of the skull. We highlight studies that illustrate the roles of osteoprogenitor cells and cranial suture-derived stem cells for proper calvarial growth and homeostasis. We also discuss genes and signaling pathways that control suture patency and highlight how perturbing the molecular regulation of these pathways leads to craniosynostosis. Finally, we discuss the recently discovered tissue and signaling interactions that integrate skull and cerebrovascular development, and the potential implications for both cerebrospinal fluid hydrodynamics and brain waste clearance in craniosynostosis.

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