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Abstract Sutures separate the flat bones of the skull and enable coordinated growth of the brain and overlying cranium. To uncover the cellular diversity within sutures, we generated single-cell transcriptomes and performed extensive expression validation of the embryonic murine coronal suture. We identify Erg and Pthlh as markers of osteogenic progenitors in sutures, and distinct pre-osteoblast signatures between the bone fronts and periosteum. In the ectocranial layers above the suture, we observe a ligament-like population spanning the frontal and parietal bones. In the dura mater underlying the suture, we detect a chondrocyte-like signature potentially linked to cartilage formation under pathological conditions. Genes mutated in coronal synostosis are preferentially expressed in proliferative osteogenic cells, as well as meningeal layers, suggesting discrete cell types that may be altered in different syndromes. This single-cell atlas provides a resource for understanding development of the coronal suture, the suture most commonly fused in monogenic craniosynostosis.

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Research Square Platform LLC

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