The vestibular lamina (VL) forms the oral vestibule, creating a gap between the teeth, lips and cheeks. In a number of ciliopathies, formation of the vestibule is defective, leading to the creation of multiple frenula. In contrast to the neighbouring dental lamina, which forms the teeth, little is known about the genes that pattern the VL. Here, we establish a molecular signature for the usually non-odontogenic VL in mice and highlight several genes and signalling pathways that may play a role in its development. For one of these, the Sonic hedgehog (Shh) pathway, we show that co-receptors Gas1, Cdon and Boc are highly expressed in the VL and act to enhance the Shh signal from the forming incisor region. In Gas1 mutant mice, expression of Gli1 was disrupted and the VL epithelium failed to extend due to a loss of proliferation. This defect was exacerbated in Boc/Gas1 double mutants and could be phenocopied using cyclopamine in culture. Signals from the forming teeth, therefore, control development of the VL, coordinating the development of the dentition and the oral cavity.

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