Michigan State University

College of Social Science

Human Development Initiative

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The Human Development Initiative, begun in 2009, is a community of scholars throughout the university interested in development across the lifespan. The initiative creates venues where scholars involved in cutting-edge research in the social and health sciences (including genetics, neuroscience, and psychosocial development) can focus on the intersections between their own work and that of other researchers. We invite faculty and graduate students to join us at our bi-weekly brown bag speaker series and our fall and spring colloquia.

Schutte Brian Schutte
Associate Professor
Ph.D. University of Wisconsin

Research Statement
The Schutte laboratory investigates the genes and pathways essential for craniofacial development. The Schutte lab, in collaboration with others, discovered that mutations in Interferon Regulatory Factor 6 (IRF6) cause two rare orofacial clefting syndromes. The Schutte lab also participated in studies showing that genetic variation in this gene contributes to isolated cleft lip and palate, a common form of the disease. IRF6 is expressed in the epithelial cells at the medial edge of the palate shelves, the site of fusion. A mouse knockout model demonstrated that in addition to craniofacial development, Irf6 is also necessary for skin and limb development. Cellular and molecular analyses showed that the primary defect in these mice is keratinocyte differentiation. The Schutte lab uses in vitro and in vivo models to understand how these cellular processes are involved in palatal development and to identify other genes in the same pathway.

Research Publications    
2009Little HJ, Rorick NK, Su LI, Baldock C, Malhotra S, Jowitt T, Gakhar L, Subramanian R, Schutte BC, Dixon MJ, Shore P (2008) Mis-sense mutations that cause Van der Woude syndrome and popliteal pterygium syndrome affect the DNA-binding and transcriptional activation functions of IRF6. Hum Mol Genet In press.
2009Sabel JL, d'Alencon C, O'Brien EK, Otterloo EV, Lutz K, Cuykendall TN, Schutte BC, Houston DW, Cornell RA (2009) Maternal Interferon Regulatory Factor 6 is required for the differentiation of primary superficial epithelia in Danio and Xenopus embryos. Dev Biol 325:249-262.
2008Rahimov F, A Visel, LA Pennacchio, MJ Hitchler, FE Domann, A Jugessur, RT Lie, AJ Wilcox, K Christensen, C Bille, M Melbye, D Fitzpatrick, ED Green, NISC Comparative Sequencing Program, ML Marazita, ME. Cooper, BC Schutte and JC Murray (2008) Disruption of a transcription factor AP-2_ binding site in an IRF6 enhancer is commonly associated with nonsyndromic cleft lip and palate. Nat. Genet. 40: 1341-7.
2006Ingraham, CR, Kinoshita, A, Kondo S, Yang B, Sajan S, Trout KJ, Malik MI, Dunnwald M, Goudy SL, Lovett M, Murray JC & Schutte BC (2006) Abnormal skin, limb and craniofacial morphogenesis in mice deficient for interferon regulatory factor 6 (Irf6). Nat. Genet. 38:1335-1340.