Velo-cardio-facial syndrome/DiGeorge syndrome (VCFS/DGS) is caused by a 1.5-3 Mb microdeletion of chromosome 22q11.2, frequently referred to as 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS). This region includes TBX1, a T-box transcription factor gene that contributes to the etiology of 22q11DS. The requirement for TBX1 in mammalian development is dosage-sensitive, such that loss-of-function (LOF) and gain-of-function (GOF) of TBX1 in both mice and humans results in disease relevant congenital malformations.
To further gain insight into the role of Tbx1 in development, we have targeted the Rosa26 locus to generate a new GOF mouse model in which a Tbx1-GFP fusion protein is expressed conditionally using the Cre/LoxP system. Tbx1-GFP expression is driven by the endogenous Rosa26 promoter resulting in ectopic and persistent expression. Tbx1 is pivotal for proper ear and heart development; ectopic activation of Tbx1-GFP in the otic vesicle by Pax2-Cre and Foxg1-Cre represses neurogenesis and produces morphological defects of the inner ear. Overexpression of a single copy of Tbx1-GFP using Tbx1Cre/+ was viable, while overexpression of both copies resulted in neonatal lethality with cardiac outflow tract defects. We have partially rescued inner ear and heart anomalies in Tbx1Cre/- null embryos by expression of Tbx1-GFP.
We have generated a new mouse model to conditionally overexpress a GFP-tagged Tbx1 protein in vivo. This provides a useful tool to investigate in vivo direct downstream targets and protein binding partners of Tbx1.
VCFS/DGS; Tbx1; Rosa26; Mouse model; Gain-of-function
Preimplantation bovine development is emerging as an attractive experimental model, yet little is known about the mechanisms underlying trophoblast (TE)/inner cell mass (ICM) segregation in cattle. To gain an insight into these processes we have studied protein and mRNA distribution during the crucial stages of bovine development. Protein distribution of lineage specific markers OCT4, NANOG, CDX2 were analysed in 5-cell, 8–16 cell, morula and blastocyst stage embryos. ICM/TE mRNA levels were compared in hatched blastocysts and included: OCT4, NANOG, FN-1, KLF4, c-MYC, REX1, CDX2, KRT-18 and GATA6.
At the mRNA level the observed distribution patterns agree with the mouse model. CDX2 and OCT4 proteins were first detected in 5-cell stage embryos. NANOG appeared at the morula stage and was located in the cytoplasm forming characteristic rings around the nuclei. Changes in sub-cellular localisation of OCT4, NANOG and CDX2 were noted from the 8–16 cell onwards. CDX2 initially co-localised with OCT4, but at the blastocyst stage a clear lineage segregation could be observed. Interestingly, we have observed in a small proportion of embryos (2%) that CDX2 immunolabelling overlapped with mitotic chromosomes.
Cell fate specification in cattle become evident earlier than presently anticipated – around the time of bovine embryonic genome activation. There is an intriguing possibility that for proper lineage determination certain transcription factors (such as CDX2) may need to occupy specific regions of chromatin prior to its activation in the interphase nucleus. Our observation suggests a possible role of CDX2 in the process of epigenetic regulation of embryonic cell fate.
Bovine blastocyst; ICM/TE lineage segregation; Cell fate; Gene expression patterns; CDX2; Mitotic retention
The reiterated architecture of cranial motor neurons aligns with the segmented structure of the embryonic vertebrate hindbrain. Anterior-posterior identity of cranial motor neurons depends, in part, on retinoic acid signaling levels. The early vertebrate embryo maintains a balance between retinoic acid synthetic and degradative zones on the basis of reciprocal expression domains of the retinoic acid synthesis gene aldhehyde dehydrogenase 1a2 (aldh1a2) posteriorly and the oxidative gene cytochrome p450 type 26a1 (cyp26a1) in the forebrain, midbrain, and anterior hindbrain.
This manuscript investigates the role of zinc finger of the cerebellum (zic) transcription factors in regulating levels of retinoic acid and differentiation of cranial motor neurons. Depletion of zebrafish Zic2a and Zic2b results in a strong downregulation of aldh1a2 expression and a concomitant reduction in activity of a retinoid-dependent transgene. The vagal motor neuron phenotype caused by loss of Zic2a/2b mimics a depletion of Aldh1a2 and is rescued by exogenously supplied retinoic acid.
Zic transcription factors function in patterning hindbrain motor neurons through their regulation of embryonic retinoic acid signaling.
Aedes aegypti is the most important global vector of dengue virus infection in humans. Availability of the draft genome sequence of this mosquito provides unique opportunities to study different aspects of its biology, including identification of genes and pathways relevant to the developmental processes associated with transition across individual life stages. However, detailed knowledge of gene expression patterns pertaining to developmental stages of A. aegypti is largely lacking.
We performed custom cDNA microarray analyses to examine the expression patterns among six developmental stages: early larvae, late larvae, early pupae, late pupae, and adult male and female mosquitoes. Results revealed 1,551 differentially expressed transcripts (DETs) showing significant differences in levels of expression between these life stages. The data suggests that most of the differential expression occurs in a stage specific manner in A. aegypti. Based on hierarchical clustering of expression levels, correlated expression patterns of DETs were also observed among developmental stages. Weighted gene correlation network analysis revealed modular patterns of expression among the DETs. We observed that hydrolase activity, membrane, integral to membrane, DNA binding, translation, ribosome, nucleoside-triphosphatase activity, structural constituent of ribosome, ribonucleoprotein complex and receptor activity were among the top ten ranked GO (Gene Ontology) terms associated with DETs. Significant associations of DETs were also observed with specific KEGG (Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes) pathway modules. Finally, comparisons with the previously reported developmental transcriptome of the malaria vector, Anopheles gambiae, indicated that gene expression patterns during developmental processes reflect both species-specific as well as common components of the two mosquito species.
Our study shows that genes involved in the developmental life cycle of A. aegypti are expressed in a highly stage-specific manner. This suggests that transcriptional events associated with transition through larval, pupal and adult stages are largely discrete.
Development; Diptera; Gene expression; Aedes aegypti; Microarray; Transcript; Holometabolous
Ecdysone triggers transcriptional changes via the ecdysone receptor (EcR) to coordinate developmental programs of apoptosis, cell cycle and differentiation. Data suggests EcR affects cell cycle gene expression indirectly and here we identify Wingless as an intermediary factor linking EcR to cell cycle.
We demonstrate EcR patterns cell cycle across the presumptive Drosophila wing margin by constraining wg transcription to modulate CycB expression, but not the previously identified Wg-targets dMyc or Stg. Furthermore co-knockdown of Wg restores CycB patterning in EcR knockdown clones. Wg is not a direct target of EcR, rather we demonstrate that repression of Wg by EcR is likely mediated by direct interaction between the EcR-responsive zinc finger transcription factor Crol and the wg promoter.
Thus we elucidate a critical mechanism potentially connecting ecdysone with patterning signals to ensure correct timing of cell cycle exit and differentiation during margin wing development.
Ecdysone; Cyclin B; Drosophila; Cell cycle; Wingless
The morphological variety displayed by the molluscan shell underlies much of the evolutionary success of this phylum. However, the broad diversity of shell forms, sizes, ornamentations and functions contrasts with a deep conservation of early cell movements associated with the initiation of shell construction. This process begins during early embryogenesis with a thickening of an ectodermal, ‘dorsal’ (opposite the blastopore) population of cells, which then invaginates into the blastocoel to form the shell gland. The shell gland evaginates to form the shell field, which then expands and further differentiates to eventually become the adult shell-secreting organ commonly known as the mantle. Despite the deep conservation of the early shell forming developmental program across molluscan classes, little is known about the fine-scale cellular or molecular processes that underlie molluscan shell development.
Using modern imaging techniques we provide here a description of the morphogenesis of a gastropod shell gland and shell field using the pulmonate gastropod Lymnaea stagnalis as a model. We find supporting evidence for a hypothesis of molluscan shell gland specification proposed over 60 years ago, and present histochemical assays that can be used to identify a variety of larval shell stages and distinct cell populations in whole mounts.
By providing a detailed spatial and temporal map of cell movements and differentiation events during early shell development in L. stagnalis we have established a platform for future work aimed at elucidation of the molecular mechanisms and regulatory networks that underlie the evo-devo of the molluscan shell.
Shell; Mollusc; Biomineralisation; Evolution; Development; Specification; Mantle; Alkaline phosphatase; Peroxidase
Hox genes, with their similar roles in animals as evolutionarily distant as humans and flies, have fascinated biologists since their discovery nearly 30 years ago. During the last two decades, reports on Hox genes from a still growing number of eumetazoan species have increased our knowledge on the Hox gene contents of a wide range of animal groups. In this review, we summarize the current Hox inventory among deuterostomes, not only in the well-known teleosts and tetrapods, but also in the earlier vertebrate and invertebrate groups. We draw an updated picture of the ancestral repertoires of the different lineages, a sort of “genome Hox bar-code” for most clades. This scenario allows us to infer differential gene or cluster losses and gains that occurred during deuterostome evolution, which might be causally linked to the morphological changes that led to these widely diverse animal taxa. Finally, we focus on the challenging family of posterior Hox genes, which probably originated through independent tandem duplication events at the origin of each of the ambulacrarian, cephalochordate and vertebrate/urochordate lineages.
The Drosophila larval head is evolutionarily derived at the genetic and morphological level. In the beetle Tribolium castaneum, development of the larval head more closely resembles the ancestral arthropod condition. Unlike in Drosophila, a knirps homologue (Tc-kni) is required for development of the antennae and mandibles. However, published Tc-kni data are restricted to cuticle phenotypes and Tc-even-skipped and Tc-wingless stainings in knockdown embryos. Hence, it has remained unclear whether the entire antennal and mandibular segments depend on Tc-kni function, and whether the intervening intercalary segment is formed completely. We address these questions with a detailed examination of Tc-kni function.
By examining the expression of marker genes in RNAi embryos, we show that Tc-kni is required only for the formation of the posterior parts of the antennal and mandibular segments (i.e. the parasegmental boundaries). Moreover, we find that the role of Tc-kni is distinct in these segments: Tc-kni is required for the initiation of the antennal parasegment boundary, but only for the maintenance of the mandibular parasegmental boundary. Surprisingly, Tc-kni controls the timing of expression of the Hox gene Tc-labial in the intercalary segment, although this segment does form in the absence of Tc-kni function. Unexpectedly, we find that the pair-rule gene Tc-even-skipped helps set the posterior boundary of Tc-kni expression in the mandible. Using the mutant antennaless, a likely regulatory Null mutation at the Tc-kni locus, we provide evidence that our RNAi studies represent a Null situation.
Tc-kni is required for the initiation of the antennal and the maintenance of the mandibular parasegmental boundaries. Tc-kni is not required for specification of the anterior regions of these segments, nor the intervening intercalary segment, confirming that Tc-kni is not a canonical ‘gap-gene’. Our finding that a gap gene orthologue is regulated by a pair rule gene adds to the view that the segmentation gene hierarchies differ between Tribolium and Drosophila upstream of the pair rule gene level. In Tribolium, as in Drosophila, head and trunk segmentation gene networks cooperate to pattern the mandibular segment, albeit involving Tc-kni as novel component.
Knirps; Head gap gene; Tribolium; Antenna; Mandible; Intercalary segment
The explanted, developing rodent retina provides an efficient and accessible preparation for use in gene transfer and pharmacological experimentation. Many of the features of normal development are retained in the explanted retina, including retinal progenitor cell proliferation, heterochronic cell production, interkinetic nuclear migration, and connectivity. To date, live imaging in the developing retina has been reported in non-mammalian and mammalian whole-mount samples. An integrated approach to rodent retinal culture/transfection, live imaging, cell tracking, and analysis in structurally intact explants greatly improves our ability to assess the kinetics of cell production.
In this report, we describe the assembly and maintenance of an in vitro, CO2-independent, live mouse retinal preparation that is accessible by both upright and inverted, 2-photon or confocal microscopes. The optics of this preparation permit high-quality and multi-channel imaging of retinal cells expressing fluorescent reporters for up to 48h. Tracking of interkinetic nuclear migration within individual cells, and changes in retinal progenitor cell morphology are described. Follow-up, hierarchical cluster screening revealed that several different dependent variable measures can be used to identify and group movement kinetics in experimental and control samples.
Collectively, these methods provide a robust approach to assay multiple features of rodent retinal development using live imaging.
Postnatal retina; in vitro electroporation; ex vivo culture; Live 2-photon microscopy; Hierarchical cluster analysis
The vertebrate craniofacial skeleton may exhibit anatomical complexity and diversity, but its genesis and evolution can be understood through careful dissection of developmental programs at cellular resolution. Resources are lacking that include introductory overviews of skeletal anatomy coupled with descriptions of craniofacial development at cellular resolution. In addition to providing analytical guidelines for other studies, such an atlas would suggest cellular mechanisms underlying development.
We present the Fish Face Atlas, an online, 3D-interactive atlas of craniofacial development in the zebrafish Danio rerio. Alizarin red-stained skulls scanned by fluorescent optical projection tomography and segmented into individual elements provide a resource for understanding the 3D structure of the zebrafish craniofacial skeleton. These data provide the user an anatomical entry point to confocal images of Alizarin red-stained zebrafish with transgenically-labelled pharyngeal arch ectomesenchyme, chondrocytes, and osteoblasts, which illustrate the appearance, morphogenesis, and growth of the mandibular and hyoid cartilages and bones, as viewed in live, anesthetized zebrafish during embryonic and larval development. Confocal image stacks at high magnification during the same stages provide cellular detail and suggest developmental and evolutionary hypotheses.
The FishFace Atlas is a novel learning tool for understanding craniofacial skeletal development, and can serve as a reference for a variety of studies, including comparative and mutational analyses.
Craniofacial development; Website atlas; Zebrafish; Bone; Cartilage; Skeleton; Evolution
Extracellular leucine-rich repeat (eLRR) proteins are a highly diverse superfamily of membrane-associated or secreted proteins. In the membrane-associated eLRR proteins, the leucine-rich repeat motifs interact with the extracellular matrix and other ligands. Characterizing their functions in animal model systems is key to deciphering their activities in various developmental processes.
In this study, we identify pan-1 as a critical regulator of C. elegans larval development. pan-1 encodes both transmembrane and cytoplasmic isoforms that vary in the presence and number of leucine-rich repeats. RNAi experiments reveal that pan-1 is required for developmental processes that occur during the mid to late larval stages. Specifically, pan-1 loss of function causes a late larval arrest with a failure to complete development of the gonad, vulva, and hypodermis. pan-1 is also required for early larval ecdysis and execution of the molting cycle at the adult molt. We also provide evidence that pan-1 functionally interacts with the heterochronic gene lin-29 during the molting process.
We show that PAN-1 is a critical regulator of larval development. Our data suggests that PAN-1 promotes developmental progression of multiple tissues during the transition from a larva to a reproductive adult. We further demonstrate that the activity of PAN-1 is complex with diverse roles in the regulation of animal development.
pan-1; Leucine-rich repeat; Gonad; Vulva; Molting; Heterochronic; lin-29
Toxic substances like heavy metals can inhibit and disrupt the normal embryonic development of organisms. Exposure to platinum during embryogenesis has been shown to lead to a “one fell swoop” internalization of the shell in the ramshorn snail Marisa cornuarietis, an event which has been discussed to be possibly indicative of processes in evolution which may result in dramatic changes in body plans.
Whereas at usual cultivation temperature, 26°C, platinum inhibits the growth of both shell gland and mantle edge during embryogenesis leading to an internalization of the mantle and, thus, also of the shell, higher temperatures induce a re-start of the differential growth of the mantle edge and the shell gland after a period of inactivity. Here, developing embryos exhibit a broad spectrum of shell forms: in some individuals only the ventral part of the visceral sac is covered while others develop almost “normal” shells. Histological studies and scanning electron microscopy images revealed platinum to inhibit the differential growth of the shell gland and the mantle edge, and elevated temperature (28 - 30°C) to mitigate this platinum effect with varying efficiency.
We could show that the formation of internal, external, and intermediate shells is realized within the continuum of a developmental gradient defined by the degree of differential growth of the embryonic mantle edge and shell gland. The artificially induced internal and intermediate shells are first external and then partly internalized, similar to internal shells found in other molluscan groups.
Platinum; Shell Internalization; Embryogenesis; Mantle Formation
Cells in some tissues acquire a polarisation in the plane of the tissue in addition to apical-basal polarity. This polarisation is commonly known as planar cell polarity and has been found to be important in developmental processes, as planar polarity is required to define the in-plane tissue coordinate system at the cellular level.
We have built an in-silico functional model of cellular polarisation that includes cellular asymmetry, cell-cell signalling and a response to a global cue. The model has been validated and parameterised against domineering non-autonomous wing hair phenotypes in Drosophila.
We have carried out a systematic comparison of in-silico polarity phenotypes with patterns observed in vivo under different genetic manipulations in the wing. This has allowed us to classify the specific functional roles of proteins involved in generating cell polarity, providing new hypotheses about their specific functions, in particular for Pk and Dsh. The predictions from the model allow direct assignment of functional roles of genes from genetic mosaic analysis of Drosophila wings.
Planar polarity; PCP; Mathematical modelling; Self organisation; Drosophila; In-silico phenotyping
The purpose of the study was an evaluation of fetal hip joint morphology during the second and the third trimester of pregnancy. Serial sections were performed on 23 cadaver infants.
The mean lunar age was 6.6 months. Femoral shaft length (FSL) and width of the proximal and distal epiphysis were x-rayed to determine fetal age. The neck shaft angle (NSA), the femoral antetorsion angle (FAA), the acetabulum anteversion angle (AAA) and the acetabulum slope angle (ASA) were measured. Hip development ratios were plotted for all cadaveric species and revealed: flat FSL/NSA slope pattern, upward FSL/FAA slope pattern and downward slope pattern for FSL/ASA and FSL/AAA ratios. The changes, observed during the developmental period, were not statistically significant. NSA did not change during the second or the third pregnancy trimester. FAA increased during pregnancy but the changes were not statistically significant. AA, as well as ASA, showed a decreasing trend during the second and the third pregnancy trimester, however, with no correlations to age.
Despite an increasing depth and growing dimensions of the acetabulum in the uterus, its orientation does not change in any significant way.
Fetus; Hip joint development; Hip dysplasia; Hip anatomy
Phosphatase of regenerating liver (PRL) family is classified as class IVa of protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTP4A) that removes phosphate groups from phosphorylated tyrosine residues on proteins. PRL phosphatases have been implicated in a number of tumorigenesis and metastasis processes and are highly conserved. However, the understanding of PRL expression profiles during embryonic development is very limited.
In this study, we demonstrated and characterized the comprehensive expression pattern of Drosophila PRL, amphioxus PRL, and zebrafish PRLs during embryonic development by either whole mount immunostaining or in situ hybridization. Our results indicate that Drosophila PRL is mainly enriched in developing mid-guts and central nervous system (CNS) in embryogenesis. In amphioxus, initially PRL gene is expressed ubiquitously during early embryogenesis, but its expression become restricted to the anterior neural tube in the cerebral vesicle. In zebrafish, PRL-1 and PRL-2 share similar expression patterns, most of which are neuronal lineages. In contrast, the expression of zebrafish PRL-3 is more specific and preferential in muscle.
This study, for the first time, elucidated the embryonic expression pattern of Drosophila, amphioxus, and zebrafish PRL genes. The shared PRL expression pattern in the developing CNS among diverse animals suggests that PRL may play conserved roles in these animals for CNS development.
Phosphatase of regenerating liver; PTP4A; Embryogenesis; Drosophila; Zebrafish; Amphioxus
Molecular studies of appendage regeneration have been hindered by the lack of a stable and efficient means of transferring exogenous genes. We therefore sought an efficient integrating virus system that could be used to study limb and tail regeneration in salamanders.
We show that replication-deficient foamy virus (FV) vectors efficiently transduce cells in two different regeneration models in cell culture and in vivo. Injection of EGFP-expressing FV but not lentivirus vector particles into regenerating limbs and tail resulted in widespread expression that persisted throughout regeneration and reamputation pointing to the utility of FV for analyzing adult phenotypes in non-mammalian models. Furthermore, tissue specific transgene expression is achieved using FV vectors during limb regeneration.
FV vectors are efficient mean of transferring genes into axolotl limb/tail and infection persists throughout regeneration and reamputation. This is a nontoxic method of delivering genes into axolotls in vivo/ in vitro and can potentially be applied to other salamander species.
Foamy virus; Regeneration; Salamander; in vivo gene transfer
Protein kinase C epsilon (PKCϵ) belongs to the novel PKC subfamily, which consists of diacylglycerol dependent- and calcium independent-PKCs. Previous studies have shown that PKCϵ is important in different contexts, such as wound healing or cancer. In this study, we contribute to expand the knowledge on PKCϵ by reporting its expression pattern during murine midgestation using the LacZ reporter gene and immunostaining procedures.
Sites showing highest PKCϵ expression were heart at ealier stages, and ganglia in older embryos. Other stained domains included somites, bone, stomach, kidney, and blood vessels.
The seemingly strong expression of PKCϵ in heart and ganglia shown in this study suggests a important role of this isoform in the vascular and nervous systems during mouse development. However, functional redundancy with other PKCs during midgestation within these domains and others reported here possibly exists since PKCϵ deficient mice do not display obvious embryonic developmental defects.
Novel protein kinase C; PKC epsilon; Mouse embryogenesis; Lac Z; Ganglia
Live imaging provides an essential methodology for understanding complex and dynamic cell behaviors and their underlying molecular mechanisms. Genetically-encoded reporter expressing mouse strains are an important tool for use in live imaging experiments. Such reporter strains can be engineered by placing cis-regulatory elements of interest to direct the expression of desired reporter genes. If these cis-regulatory elements are downstream targets, and thus activated as a consequence of signaling pathway activation, such reporters can provide read-outs of the signaling status of a cell. The Notch signaling pathway is an evolutionary conserved pathway operating in multiple developmental processes as well as being the basis for several congenital diseases. The transcription factor CBF1 is a central evolutionarily conserved component of the Notch signaling pathway. It binds the active form of the Notch receptor (NICD) and subsequently binds to cis-regulatory regions (CBF1 binding sites) in the promoters of Notch responsive genes. In this way, CBF1 binding sites represent a good target for the design of a Notch signaling reporter.
To generate a single-cell resolution Notch signaling reporter, we used a CBF responsive element to direct the expression of a nuclear-localized fluorescent protein. To do this, we linked 4 copies of a consensus CBF1 binding site to the basal simian virus 40 (SV40) promoter, placed this cassette in front of a fluorescent protein fusion comprising human histone H2B linked to the yellow fluorescent protein (YFP) Venus, one of the brightest available YFPs. We used the CBF:H2B-Venus construct to generate both transgenic embryonic mouse stem (ES) cell lines and a strain of transgenic mice that would report Notch signaling activity.
By using multiple CBF1 binding sites together with a subcellular-localized, genetically-encoded fluorescent protein, H2B-Venus, we have generated a transgenic strain of mice that faithfully recapitulates Notch signaling at single-cell resolution. This is the first mouse reporter strain in which individual cells transducing a Notch signal can be visualized. The improved resolution of this reporter makes it ideal for live imaging developmental processes regulated by the Notch signaling pathway as well as a short-term lineage tracer of Notch expressing cells due to the perdurance of the fluorescent reporter. Taken together, the CBF:H2B-Venus mouse strain is a unique tool to study and understand the morphogenetic events regulated by the Notch signaling pathway.
Mouse embryo; Live imaging; Cell tracking; GFP; Venus; H2B-Venus; Reporter strain; CBF/RbpJ; Notch signaling
The phoronid larva, which is called the actinotrocha, is one of the most remarkable planktotrophic larval types among marine invertebrates. Actinotrochs live in plankton for relatively long periods and undergo catastrophic metamorphosis, in which some parts of the larval body are consumed by the juvenile. The development and organization of the muscular system has never been described in detail for actinotrochs and for other stages in the phoronid life cycle.
In Phoronopsis harmeri, muscular elements of the preoral lobe and the collar originate in the mid-gastrula stage from mesodermal cells, which have immigrated from the anterior wall of the archenteron. Muscles of the trunk originate from posterior mesoderm together with the trunk coelom. The organization of the muscular system in phoronid larvae of different species is very complex and consists of 14 groups of muscles. The telotroch constrictor, which holds the telotroch in the larval body during metamorphosis, is described for the first time. This unusual muscle is formed by apical myofilaments of the epidermal cells. Most larval muscles are formed by cells with cross-striated organization of myofibrils. During metamorphosis, most elements of the larval muscular system degenerate, but some of them remain and are integrated into the juvenile musculature.
Early steps of phoronid myogenesis reflect the peculiarities of the actinotroch larva: the muscle of the preoral lobe is the first muscle to appear, and it is important for food capture. The larval muscular system is organized in differently in different phoronid larvae, but always exhibits a complexity that probably results from the long pelagic life, planktotrophy, and catastrophic metamorphosis. Degeneration of the larval muscular system during phoronid metamorphosis occurs in two ways, i.e., by complete or by incomplete destruction of larval muscular elements. The organization and remodeling of the muscular system in phoronids exhibits the combination of protostome-like and deuterostome-like features. This combination, which has also been found in the organization of some other systems in phoronids, can be regarded as an important characteristic and one that probably reflects the basal position of phoronids within the Lophotrochozoa.
The 14-3-3 (YWHA) proteins are central mediators in various cellular signaling pathways regulating development and growth, including cell cycle regulation. We previously reported that all seven mammalian 14-3-3 isoforms are expressed in mouse oocytes and eggs and that, 14-3-3η (YWHAH) accumulates and co-localizes in the region of meiotic spindle in mouse eggs matured in vivo. Therefore, we investigated the role of 14-3-3η in spindle formation during mouse oocyte maturation.
Examination of oocytes matured in vitro demonstrated that 14-3-3η accumulates in both meiosis I and II spindles. To explore if 14-3-3η interacts directly with α-tubulin in meiotic spindles, we performed an in situ proximity ligation assay that can detect intracellular protein-protein interactions at the single molecule level and which allows visualization of the actual interaction sites. This assay revealed a marked interaction between 14-3-3η and α-tubulin at the metaphase II spindle. To demonstrate a functional role for 14-3-3η in oocyte maturation, mouse oocytes were microinjected with a translation-blocking morpholino oligonucleotide against 14-3-3η mRNA to reduce 14-3-3η protein synthesis during oocyte maturation. Meiotic spindles in those cells were examined by immunofluorescence staining of 14-3-3η and α-tubulin along with observation of DNA. In 76% of cells injected with the morpholino, meiotic spindles were found to be deformed or absent and there was reduced or no accumulation of 14-3-3η in the spindle region. Those cells contained clumped chromosomes, with no polar body formation. Immunofluorescence staining of 14-3-3η and α-tubulin in control eggs matured in vitro from uninjected oocytes and oocytes microinjected with the ineffective, inverted form of a morpholino against 14-3-3η, a morpholino against 14-3-3γ, or deionized water showed normal, bipolar spindles.
The results indicate that 14-3-3η is essential for normal meiotic spindle formation during in vitro maturation of mouse oocytes, in part by interacting with α-tubulin, to regulate the assembly of microtubules. These data add to our understanding of the roles of 14-3-3 proteins in mouse oocyte maturation and mammalian reproduction.
Meiosis; Oocyte maturation; 14-3-3η; Meiotic spindle; Morpholino oligonucleotide; α-tubulin
Tenm4 is a mouse homolog of the Drosophila gene Tenascin-m (Ten-m (Odd oz)), which functions in motor neuron routing. Recently, a genome-wide association analysis for bipolar disorder identified a new susceptibility locus at TENM4 increasing the importance of understanding Tenm4. A series of Tenm4 mouse alleles showing a broad range of phenotypes were isolated after ENU mutagenesis. Here, we examine the timing and features of gastrulation failure in a loss of function allele.
Embryonic mesoderm did not form in loss of function Tenm4m1/m1 mutant embryos. Genes normally expressed in embryonic mesoderm were not expressed in the mutant, the primitive streak did not form, and markers of the anteroposterior axis were not expressed or were mislocalized. The lack of embryonic mesoderm could not be attributed to poor proliferation of the epiblast, as normal numbers of dividing cells were observed. Epiblast cells maintained expression of Pou5f1 suggesting that they remain pluripotent, but they did not have the capacity to form any germ layer derivatives in teratomas, showing that the inability to induce mesoderm is cell autonomous. Misexpression of E-cadherin and N-cadherin suggest that the embryos did not undergo an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. In addition, Wnt signaling did not occur in the mutants, as assessed by the TOPGAL reporter assay, while a GSK3β inhibitor partially rescued the mutant embryos, and rescued TOPGAL reporter expression.
These data demonstrate that Tenm4 mutants fail to form a primitive streak and to induce embryonic mesoderm. Markers of anterior posterior patterning fail to be expressed or are mislocalized. Further, Tenm4 mutants lack the ability to differentiate in a cell autonomous manner. Together, our data suggest that embryos become impaired prior to E6.5 and as a result, Wnt signaling fails to occur; however, the involvement of other signaling pathways remains to be examined.
Mouse; Tenm4; Gastrulation; Mesoderm induction; Anterior-posterior patterning; Bipolar disorder; Wnt signaling and ENU mutagenesis
The freshwater planarian Schmidtea mediterranea has emerged as a powerful model for studies of regenerative, stem cell, and germ cell biology. Whole-mount in situ hybridization (WISH) and whole-mount fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) are critical methods for determining gene expression patterns in planarians. While expression patterns for a number of genes have been elucidated using established protocols, determining the expression patterns for particularly low-abundance transcripts remains a challenge.
We show here that a short bleaching step in formamide dramatically enhances signal intensity of WISH and FISH. To further improve signal sensitivity we optimized blocking conditions for multiple anti-hapten antibodies, developed a copper sulfate quenching step that virtually eliminates autofluorescence, and enhanced signal intensity through iterative rounds of tyramide signal amplification. For FISH on regenerating planarians, we employed a heat-induced antigen retrieval step that provides a better balance between permeabilization of mature tissues and preservation of regenerating tissues. We also show that azide most effectively quenches peroxidase activity between rounds of development for multicolor FISH experiments. Finally, we apply these modifications to elucidate the expression patterns of a few low-abundance transcripts.
The modifications we present here provide significant improvements in signal intensity and signal sensitivity for WISH and FISH in planarians. Additionally, these modifications might be of widespread utility for whole-mount FISH in other model organisms.
Planarian; Whole-mount in situ hybridization (WISH); Fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH); Tyramide signal amplification (TSA); Autofluorescence; Multicolor FISH; Peroxidase quenching; Regeneration; Heat-induced antigen retrieval (HIAR)
The editors of BMC Developmental Biology would like to thank all our reviewers who have contributed to the journal in Volume 12 (2012).
In the male germ line of Drosophila chromatin remains decondensed and highly transcribed during meiotic prophase until it is rapidly compacted. A large proportion of the cell cycle-regulated histone H3.1 is replaced by H3.3, a histone variant encoded outside the histone repeat cluster and not subject to cell cycle controlled expression.
We investigated histone modification patterns in testes of D. melanogaster and D. hydei. In somatic cells of the testis envelope and in germ cells these modification patterns differ from those typically seen in eu- and heterochromatin of other somatic cells. During the meiotic prophase some modifications expected in active chromatin are not found or are found at low level. The absence of H4K16ac suggests that dosage compensation does not take place. Certain histone modifications correspond to either the cell cycle-regulated histone H3.1 or to the testis-specific variant H3.3. In spermatogonia we found H3K9 methylation in cytoplasmic histones, most likely corresponding to the H3.3 histone variant. Most histone modifications persist throughout the meiotic divisions. The majority of modifications persist until the early spermatid nuclei, and only a minority further persist until the final chromatin compaction stages before individualization of the spermatozoa.
Histone modification patterns in the male germ line differ from expected patterns. They are consistent with an absence of dosage compensation of the X chromosome during the male meiotic prophase. The cell cycle-regulated histone variant H3.1 and H3.3, expressed throughout the cell cycle, also vary in their modification patterns. Postmeiotically, we observed a highly complex pattern of the histone modifications until late spermatid nuclear elongation stages. This may be in part due to postmeiotic transcription and in part to differential histone replacement during chromatin condensation.