LIM-homeodomain (LIM-HD) transcription factors have been extensively studied for their role in the development of the central nervous system. Their function is key to several developmental events like cell proliferation, differentiation and subtype specification. However, their roles in retinal neurogenesis remain largely unknown. Here we report a detailed expression study of LIM-HD transcription factors LHX9 and LHX2, LHX3 and LHX4, and LHX6 in the developing and mature mouse retina using immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization techniques. We show that LHX9 is expressed during the early stages of development in the retinal ganglion cell layer and the inner nuclear layer. We also show that LHX9 is expressed in a subset of amacrine cells in the adult retina. LHX2 is known to be expressed in retinal progenitor cells during development and in Müller glial cells and a subset of amacrine cells in the adult retina. We found that the LHX2 subset of amacrine cells is not cholinergic and that a very few of LHX2 amacrine cells express calretinin. LHX3 and LHX4 are expressed in a subset of bipolar cells in the adult retina. LHX6 is expressed in cells in the ganglion cell layer and the neuroblast layer starting at embryonic stage 13.5 (E13.5) and continues to be expressed in cells in the ganglion cell layer and inner nuclear layer, postnatally, suggesting its likely expression in amacrine cells or a subset thereof. Taken together, our comprehensive assay of expression patterns of LIM-HD transcription factors during mouse retinal development will help further studies elucidating their biological functions in the differentiation of retinal cell subtypes.
LIM-homeodomain; Lhx genes; retinogenesis; retinal development; transcription factors
Vertebrate eye development is a complex multistep process coordinated by signals from the lens, optic cup and periocular mesenchyme. Although chemokines are increasingly being recognized as key players in cell migration, proliferation, and differentiation during embryonic development, their potential role during eye development has not been examined. In this study, we demonstrate by section in situ hybridization that CXCL12 and CXCL14 are expressed during ocular development. CXCL12 is expressed in the periocular mesenchyme, ocular blood vessels, retina, and eyelid mesenchyme, and its expression pattern is conserved between chick and mouse in most tissues. Expression of CXCL14 is localized in the ocular ectoderm, limbal epithelium, scleral papillae, eyelid mesenchyme, corneal keratocytes, hair follicles, and retina, and it was only conserved in the upper eyelid ectoderm of chick and mouse. The unique and non-overlapping patterns of CXCL12 and CXCL14 expression in ocular tissues suggest that these two chemokines may interact and have important functions in cell proliferation, differentiation and migration during eye development.
Cornea; limbal epithelium; eyelid; nictitating membrane; scleral ossicles; retina
The mouse prostate develops from a component of the lower urinary tract
(LUT) known as the urogenital sinus (UGS). This process requires androgens and
signaling between mesenchyme and epithelium. Little is known about DNA
methylation during prostate development, including which factors are expressed,
whether their expression changes over time, and if DNA methylation contributes
to androgen signaling or influences signaling between mesenchyme and epithelium.
We used in situ hybridization to evaluate the spatial and
temporal expression pattern of mRNAs which encode proteins responsible for
establishing, maintaining or remodeling DNA methylation. These include DNA
methyltrasferases, DNA deaminases, DNA glycosylases, base excision repair and
mismatch repair pathway members. The mRNA expression patterns were compared
between male and female LUT prior to prostatic bud formation (14.5 days post
coitus (dpc)), during prostatic bud formation (17.5 dpc) and during prostatic
branching morphogenesis (postnatal day (P) 5). We found dramatic changes in the
patterns of these mRNAs over the course of prostate development and identified
examples of sexually dimorphic mRNA expression. Future investigation into how
DNA methylation patterns are established, maintained and remodeled during the
course of embryonic prostatic bud formation may provide insight into prostate
morphogenesis and disease.
urogenital sinus; lower urinary tract; prostate; epigenetics; DNA methylation; DNA demethylation
Processing of mRNAs including, alternative splicing (AS), mRNA transport and translation regulation are crucial to eukaryotic gene expression. For example, >90% of the gene in the human genome are known to undergo alternative splicing thereby expanding the proteome production capacity of a limited number of genes. Similarly, mRNA export and translation regulation plays a vital role in regulating protein production. Thus, it is important to understand how these RNA binding proteins including alternative splicing factors (ASFs) and mRNA transport and translation factors regulate these processes. Here we report the expression of an ASF, Serine-arginine rich splicing factor 10 (Sfrs10) and a mRNA translation regulation factor, CUGBP, elav like family member 4 (Celf4) in the developing mouse retina. Sfrs10 was expressed throughout postnatal (P) retinal development and was observed progressively in newly differentiating neurons. Immunofluorescence (IF) showed Sfrs10 in retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) at P0, followed by amacrine and bipolar cells, and at P8 it was enriched in red/green cone photoreceptor cells. By P22, Sfrs10 was observed in rod photoreceptors in a peri-nuclear pattern. Like Sfrs10, Celf4 was also observed in the developing retina, but with two distinct retinal isoforms. In situ hybridization (ISH) showed progressive expression of Celf4 in differentiating neurons, which was confirmed by IF that showed a dynamic shift in Celf4 localization. Early in development Celf4 expression was restricted to the nuclei of newly differentiating RGCs and later (E16 onwards) it was observed in the initial segments of RGC axons. Later, during postnatal development, Celf4 was observed in amacrine and bipolar cells, but here it was predominantly cytoplasmic and enriched in the two synaptic layers. Specifically, at P14, Celf4 was observed in the synaptic boutons of rod bipolar cells marked by Pkc-α. Thus, Celf4 might be regulating AS early in development besides its known role of regulating mRNA localization/translation. In all, our data suggests an important role for AS and mRNA localization/translation in retinal neuron differentiation.
Vasotocin/vasopressin is a neuropeptide that regulates social and reproductive behaviors in a variety of animals including fish. Arginine vasotocin (AVT) is expressed by cells in the ventral hypothalamic and preoptic areas in the diencephalon during embryogenesis in zebrafish suggesting that vasotocin might mediate other functions within the CNS prior to the development of social and reproductive behaviors. In order to examine potential early roles for vasotocin we cloned two zebrafish vasotocin receptors homologous to AVPR1a. The receptors are expressed primarily in the CNS in similar but generally non-overlapping patterns. Both receptors are expressed in the forebrain, midbrain and hindbrain by larval stage. Of note, AVTR1a-expressing neurons in the hindbrain appear to be contacted by the axons of preoptic neurons in the forebrain that include avt+ neurons and from sensory axons in the lateral longitudinal fasciculus (LLF). Furthermore, AVTR1a-expressing hindbrain neurons extend axons into the medial longitudinal fasciculus (MLF) that contains axons of many neurons thought to be involved in locomotor responses to sensory stimulation. One hypothesis consistent with this anatomy is that AVT signaling mediates or gates sensory input to motor circuits in the hindbrain and spinal cord.
Intercellular signaling via the Eph receptor tyrosine kinases and their ligands, the ephrins, acts to shape many regions of the developing brain. One intriguing consequence of Eph signaling is the control of mixing between discrete cell populations in the developing hindbrain, contributing to the formation of segregated rhombomeres. Since the thalamus is also a parcellated structure comprised of discrete nuclei, might Eph signaling play a parallel role in cell segregation in this brain structure? Analyses of expression reveal that several Eph family members are expressed in the forming thalamus and that cells expressing particular receptors form cellular groupings as development proceeds. Specifically, expression of receptors EphA4 or EphA7 and ligand ephrin-A5 is localized to distinct thalamic domains. EphA4 and EphA7 are often coexpressed in regions of the forming thalamus, with each receptor marking discrete thalamic domains. In contrast, ephrin-A5 is expressed by a limited group of thalamic cells. Within the ventral thalamus, EphA4 is present broadly, occasionally overlapping with ephrin-A5 expression. EphA7 is more restricted in its expression and is largely nonoverlapping with ephrin-A5. In mutant mice lacking one or both receptors or ephrin-A5, the appearance of the venteroposterolateral (VPL) and venteroposteromedial (VPM) nuclear complex is altered compared to wild type mice. These in vivo results support a role for Eph family members in the definition of the thalamic nuclei. In parallel, in vitro analysis reveals a hierarchy of mixing among cells expressing ephrin-A5 with cells expressing EphA4 alone, EphA4 and EphA7 together, or EphA7 alone. Together, these data support a model in which EphA molecules promote the parcellation of discrete thalamic nuclei by limiting the extent of cell mixing.
EphA4; EphA7; Ephrin-A5; Thalamus; Development; Segregation; Nuclei
Epigenetic regulation of gene expression orchestrates dynamic cellular processes that become perturbed in human disease. An understanding of how subversion of chromatin-mediated events leads to pathologies such as cancer and neurodevelopmental syndromes may offer better treatment options for these pathological conditions. Chromodomain Helicase DNA-binding protein 5 (CHD5) is a dosage-sensitive tumor suppressor that is inactivated in human cancers, including neural-associated malignancies such as neuroblastoma and glioma. Here we report a detailed analysis of the temporal and cell type-specific expression pattern of Chd5 in the mammalian brain. By analyzing endogenous Chd5 protein expression during mouse embryogenesis, in the neonate, and in the adult, we found that Chd5 is expressed broadly in multiple brain regions, that Chd5 sub-cellular localization undergoes a switch from the cytoplasm to the nucleus during mid-gestation, and that Chd5 expression is retained at high levels in differentiated neurons of the adult. These findings may have important implications for defining the role of CHD5-mediated chromatin dynamics in the brain and for elucidating how perturbation of these epigenetic processes leads to neuronal malignancies, neurodegenerative diseases, and neurodevelopmental syndromes.
Clarin-1 (CLRN1) is the causative gene in Usher Syndrome type 3A, an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by progressive vision and hearing loss. CLRN1 encodes Clarin-1, a glycoprotein with homology to the tetraspanin family of proteins. Previous cell culture studies suggest that Clarin-1 localizes to the plasma membrane and interacts with the cytoskeleton. Mouse models demonstrate a role for the protein in mechanosensory hair bundle integrity, but the function of Clarin-1 in hearing remains unclear. Even less is known of its role in vision, because the Clrn1 knockout mouse does not exhibit a retinal phenotype and expression studies in murine retinas have provided conflicting results. Here, we describe cloning and expression analysis of the zebrafish clrn1 gene, and report protein localization of Clarin-1 in auditory and visual cells from embryonic through adult stages. We detect clrn1 transcripts as early as 24 hours post-fertilization, and expression is maintained through adulthood. In situ hybridization experiments show clrn1 transcripts enriched in mechanosensory hair cells and supporting cells of the inner ear and lateral line organ, photoreceptors, and cells of the inner retina. In mechanosensory hair cells, Clarin-1 is polarized to the apical cell body and the synapses. In the retina, Clarin-1 localizes to lateral cell contacts between photoreceptors and is associated with the outer limiting membrane and subapical processes emanating from Müller glial cells. We also find Clarin-1 protein in the outer plexiform, inner nuclear and ganglion cell layers of the retina. Given the importance of Clarin-1 function in the human retina, it is imperative to find an animal model with a comparable requirement. Our data provide a foundation for exploring the role of Clarin-1 in retinal cell function and survival in a diurnal, cone-dominant species.
Interferon-induced transmembrane protein 3 (IFITM3; FRAGILIS; MIL-1) is part of a larger family of important small interferon-induced transmembrane genes and proteins involved in early development, cell adhesion, and cell proliferation, and which also play a major role in response to bacterial and viral infections and, more recently, in pronounced malignancies (Siegrist et al., 2011). IFITM3, together with tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP), PRDM1, and STELLA, has been claimed to be a hallmark of segregated primordial germ cells (PGCs) (Saitou et al., 2002). However, whether IFITM3, like STELLA, is part of a broader stem/progenitor pool that builds the posterior region of the mouse conceptus (Mikedis and Downs, 2012), is obscure. To discover the whereabouts of IFITM3 during mouse gastrulation (~E6.5-9.0), systematic immunohistochemical analysis was carried out at closely spaced 2-4-hour intervals. Results revealed diverse, yet consistent, profiles of IFITM3 localization throughout the gastrula. Within the putative PGC trajectory and surrounding posterior tissues, IFITM3 localized as a large cytoplasmic spot with or without staining in the plasma membrane. IFITM3, like STELLA, was also found in the ventral ectodermal ridge (VER), a posterior progenitor pool that builds the tailbud. The large cytoplasmic spot with plasma membrane staining was exclusive to the posterior region; the visceral yolk sac, non-posterior tissues, and epithelial tissues exhibited spots of IFITM3 without cell surface staining. Co-localization of the intracellular IFITM3 spot with the endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus or endolysosomes was not observed. That relatively high levels of IFITM3 were found throughout the posterior primitive streak and its derivatives is consistent with evidence that IFITM3, like STELLA, is part of a larger stem/progenitor cell pool at the posterior end of the primitive streak that forms the base of the allantois and builds the fetal-umbilical connection, thus further obfuscating practical phenotypic distinctions between so-called PGCs and surrounding soma.
Allantoic Core Domain; allantois; branchial arches; IFITM2; IFITM3; endothelium; Flk1; foregut; FRAGILIS; hematopoietic cells; hindgut; MIL-1; mouse; primitive streak; primordial germ cells; PGCs; Runx1; ventral ectodermal ridge
Homo- and heterodimers of Kif5 proteins form the motor domain of Kinesin-1, a major plus-end directed microtubule motor. Kif5s have been implicated in the intracellular transport of organelles, vesicles, proteins, and RNAs in many cell types. There are three mammalian KIF5s. KIF5A and KIF5C proteins are strictly neural in mouse whereas, KIF5B is ubiquitously expressed. Mouse knockouts indicate crucial roles for KIF5 in development and human mutations in KIF5A lead to the neurodegenerative disease Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia. However, the developmental functions and the extent to which individual kif5 functions overlap have not been elucidated. Zebrafish possess five kif5 genes: kif5Aa, kif5Ab, kif5Ba, kif5Bb, and kif5C. Here we report their tissue specific expression patterns in embryonic and larval stages. Specifically, we find that kif5As are strictly zygotic and exhibit neural-specific expression. In contrast, kif5Bs exhibit strong maternal contribution and are ubiquitously expressed. Lastly, kif5C exhibits weak maternal expression followed by enrichment in neural populations. In addition, kif5s show distinct expression domains in the larval retina.
Microtubules; Intracellular transport; Trigeminal ganglia; Posterior lateral line ganglia; Retina; Neurons; Hindbrain; Spinal cord; Digestive tract
The LIM-homeodomain transcription factor Isl1 plays essential roles in cell proliferation, differentiation and survival during embryogenesis. To better visualize Isl1 expression and provide insight into the role of Isl1 during development, we generated an Isl1 nuclear LacZ (nLacZ) knockin mouse line and analyzed Isl1nlacZ expression during development by Xgal staining and compared expression of Isl1nlacZ with endogenous Isl1 by coimmunostaining with antibodies to Isl1 and β-galactosidase. Results demonstrated that during development Isl1 nuclear LacZ is expressed in a pattern that recapitulates its endogenous protein expression. Consistent with previous in situ and immunohistochemistry data, we observed Isl1nlacZ expression in multiple tissues and cell types, including the central and peripheral nervous system, neural retina, inner ear, pharyngeal mesoderm and endoderm and their derivatives (craniofacial structures, thymus, thyroid gland and trachea), cardiovascular system (cardiac outflow tract, carotid arteries, umbilical vessels, sinoatrial node and atrial septum), gastrointestinal system (oral epithelium, stomach, pancreas, mesentery) and hindlimb. In some cases, Isl1nlacZ appears to be more readily detectable than Isl1 protein when expression level is low, and in others, Isl1nlacZ appears to act as a lineage tracer, likely owing to perdurance of the nuclear localized beta-galactosidase.
Isl1; LIM-homeodomain; transgenic; gene expression; development
In Drosophila oogenesis, the follicular epithelium that envelops the oocyte is patterned by a small set of inductive signals and gives rise to an elaborate three-dimensional eggshell. Several eggshell structures provide sensitive readouts of the patterning signals, but the formation of these structures is still poorly understood. In other systems, epithelial morphogenesis is guided by the spatial patterning of cell adhesion and cytoskeleton genes. As a step towards developing a comprehensive description of patterning events leading to eggshell morphogenesis, we report the expression of Drosophila cadherins, calcium dependent adhesion molecules that are repeatedly used throughout development. We found that 9/17 of Drosophila cadherins are expressed in the follicular epithelium in dynamic patterns during oogenesis. In late oogenesis, the expression patterns of cadherin genes in the main body follicle cells is summarized using a compact set of simple geometric shapes, reflecting the integration of the EGFR and DPP inductive signals. The multi-layered composite patterning of the cadherins is hypothesized to play a key role in the formation of the eggshell. Of particular note is the complex patterning of the region of the follicular epithelium that gives rise to the dorsal appendages, which are tubular structures that serve as respiratory organs for the developing embryo.
Drosophila; cadherin; oogenesis; gene expression; morphogenesis; adhesion; pattern formation; follicle cell; epithelium
Follistatin-like 1 (Fstl1) is a distantly related homolog of the Activin and Bone Morphogenetic Protein antagonist Follistatin. Interestingly, this molecule also has homology with the extracellular matrix modifying protein BM-40/SPARC/osteonectin. Previous studies in chick have identified Fstl1 as a regulator of early mesoderm patterning, somitogenesis, myogenesis and neural development. In this study, we determine the developmental expression pattern of Fstl1 during mouse development. We find that Fstl1 is ubiquitously expressed in the early embryo, and that expression becomes regionalized later during development. In the majority of tissues, Fstl1 is strongly expressed in the mesenchymal component and excluded from the epithelium. Notable exceptions include the central nervous system, in which Fstl1 expression is entirely absent with the exception of the choroid plexi and floor plate, the lung, in which Fstl1 expression can be seen in airway epithelia and the kidney, in which collecting ducts and nascent nephron epithelia express the highest levels of Fstl1.
Follistatin; activin antagonist; BMP antagonist; bone development; gonad development; gut development; heart development; kidney development; limb development; lung development; neural development; skin development; tooth development
Species of frogs that develop directly have removed the tadpole from
their ontogeny and form adult structures precociously. To see whether cell cycle
regulators could be involved in this altered embryogenesis, we examined the
expression of ccnd1, ccnd2, and
mycn in embryos of the direct developing frog,
Eleutherodactylus coqui. Notable differences compared to
embryos of Xenopus laevis, a species with a tadpole, included
prominent expression of ccnd2 in the midbrain and
ccnd1 in the mandibular neural crest. The former may
contribute to the precocious appearance of the adult-type visual system and the
latter to the adult-type jaw. Large domains of ccnd2 and
mycn presage the early appearance of limb buds, and
ccnd1 and mycn are implicated in digit
Transgenic animals are powerful tools to study gene function in vivo. Here we characterize several transgenic zebrafish lines that express green fluorescent protein (GFP) under the control of the LCRRH2-RH2-1 or LCRRH2-RH2-2 green opsin regulatory elements. Using confocal immunomicroscopy, stereo-fluorescence microscopy, and Western blotting, we show that the Tg(LCRRH2-RH2-1:GFP)pt112 and Tg(LCRRH2-RH2-2:GFP)pt115 transgenic zebrafish lines express GFP in the pineal gland and certain types of photoreceptors. In addition, some of these lines also express GFP in the hatching gland, optic tectum, or olfactory bulb. Some of the expression patterns differ significantly from previously published similar transgenic fish lines, making them useful tools for studying the development of the corresponding tissues and organs. In addition, the variations of GFP expression among different lines corroborate the notion that transgenic expression is often subjected to position effect, thus emphasizing the need for careful verification of expression patterns when transgenic animal models are utilized for research.
Crumbs2b; olfactory system; transgenic zebrafish; green opsin promoter; photoreceptor; retina
The brain of Drosophila is formed by approximately 100 lineages, each lineage being derived from a stem cell-like neuroblast that segregates from the procephalic neurectoderm of the early embryo. A neuroblast map has been established in great detail for the early embryo, and a suite of molecular markers has been defined for all neuroblasts included in this map (Urbach and Technau, 2003a). However, the expression of these markers was not followed into later embryonic or larval stages, mainly due to the fact that anatomical landmarks to which expression patterns could be related had not been defined. Such markers, in the form of stereotyped clusters of neurons whose axons project along cohesive bundles (“primary axon bundles” or “PABs”) are now available (Younossi-Hartenstein et al., 2006). In the present study we have mapped the expression of molecular markers in relationship to primary neuronal clusters and their PABs. The markers we analyzed include many of the genes involved in patterning of the brain along the anteroposterior axis (cephalic gap genes, segment polarity genes) and dorso-ventral axis (columnar patterning genes), as well as genes expressed in the dorsal protocerebrum and visual system (early eye genes). Our analysis represents an important step along the way to identify neuronal lineages of the mature brain with genes expressed in the early embryo in discrete neuroblasts. Furthermore, the analysis helped us to reconstruct the morphogenetic movements that transform the two-dimensional neuroblast layer of the early embryo into the three-dimensional larval brain and provides the basis for deeper understanding of how the embryonic brain develops.
Drosophila; embryonic brain; brain development; Hox genes; pair rule genes; segment polarity genes; head gap genes; retinal patterning genes; columnar patterning genes
Sphingosine-1-phosphate lyase (SPL) catalyzes the degradation of sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P), a bioactive lipid that controls cell proliferation, migration and survival. Mice lacking SPL expression exhibit developmental abnormalities, runting and death during the perinatal period, suggesting that SPL plays a role in mammalian development and adaptation to extrauterine life. We investigated the pattern of SPL expression in the mouse embryo and placenta from day 8 to day 18. Our findings reveal that SPL is expressed in the developing brain and neural tube, Rathke’s pouch, first brachial arch, third brachial arch, optic stalk, midgut loops, and lung buds. Diffuse signal was high at E12, whereas a recognizable adult SPL pattern was evident by E15 and more intensely at E18, with strong expression in skin, nasal epithelium, intestinal epithelium, cartilage, thymus and pituitary gland. These findings suggest SPL may be involved in development of the mammalian central nervous system (CNS), anterior pituitary, trigeminal nerve, palate and facial bones, thymus and other organs. Our findings are consistent with the SPL expression pattern of the adult mouse and with congenital abnormalities observed in SPL mutant mice.
sphingosine-1-phosphate; sphingosine phosphate lyase; S1P lyase; Sgpl1; embryogenesis; sphingolipid
Foxi2 and Foxi3 are members of the Foxi class of Forkhead transcription factors. The Foxi transcription factor family has been shown to play roles in the development of the inner ear and pharyngeal arch derivatives in zebrafish. We describe the expression of Foxi2 and Foxi3 in chicken embryos during the first three days of embryonic development. Foxi3 is initially expressed broadly in the pre-placodal ectoderm surrounding the neural plate, which will give rise to all craniofacial sensory organs. It then becomes restricted to a region immediately anterior to the first pair of somites that will give rise to the otic and epibranchial placodes, before becoming down-regulated from this region and restricted to the ectoderm and endoderm of the pharyngeal arches. In contrast, Foxi2 is initially expressed broadly in cranial ectoderm with the striking exception of the otic placode, and ultimately becomes restricted to pharyngeal arch ectoderm. These expression patterns provide an insight into the roles of these transcriptional regulators during the development of the inner ear and pharyngeal arch derivatives.
Otic placode; Pharyngeal arch; Craniofacial development; Pre-placodal domain
Fmlns belong to the Formin family, catalysts of linear Actin polymerization with mostly unknown roles in vivo. In cell culture Fmnls are involved in cell migration and adhesion and the formation of different types of protrusions including filopodia and blebs, suggesting important roles during development. Moreover, Fmnls can act downstream of Rac and Cdc42, mediators of cytoskeletal changes as targets of important pathways required for shaping tissues. The zebrafish genome encodes five Fmnls. Here we report their tissue specific expression patterns during early development and pharyngula stages. The fmnls show overlapping and distinct expression patterns, which suggest that they could regulate similar processes during development, but may also have independent functions. In particular, we find a strong maternal contribution of all fmnls, but distinct expression patterns in the developing brain eye, ear, heart and vascular system.
Actin; vascular system; visual system; otic vesicles; brain
The Twirler mutation arose spontaneously and causes inner ear defects in heterozygous and cleft lip and/or cleft palate in homozygous mutant mice, providing a unique animal model for investigating the molecular mechanisms of inner ear and craniofacial development. Here we report the identification of a novel homeobox gene, Iroquois-related homeobox like-1 (Irxl1), from the Twirler locus. Irxl1 encodes a TALE-family homeodomain protein with its homeodomain exhibiting the highest amino acid sequence identity (54%) to those of invertebrate Iroquois and vertebrate Irx subfamily members. The putative Irxl1 protein lacks the Iro-box, a conserved motif in all known members of the Irx subfamily. Searching the databases showed that Irxl1 orthologs exist in Xenopus, chick, and mammals. In situ hybridization analyses of mouse embryos at various developmental stages showed that Irxl1 mRNA is highly expressed in the frontonasal process and palatal mesenchyme during primary and secondary palate development. In addition, Irxl1 mRNA is strongly expressed in mesenchyme surrounding the developing inner ear, in discrete regions of the developing mandible, in the dermamyotome during somite differentiation, and in a subset of muscular structures in late embryonic stages. The developmental expression pattern indicates that Irxl1 is a good candidate gene for the Twirler gene.
cleft lip; cleft palate; craniofacial development; dermamyotome; homeobox; homeodomain; Hox; intervertebral disc; Iroquois; Irx; Irxl1; mandible; palate development; secondary palate; skeletal muscle; somite; TALE; Twirler mutation
FGFs1 with similar sequences can play different roles depending on the model organisms examined. Determining these roles requires knowledge of spatio-temporal Fgf gene expression patterns. In this study, we report the cloning of chick Fgf5, 6 and 7, and examine their gene expression patterns by whole mount in situ hybridization. We show that Fgf5's spatio-temporally restricted expression pattern indicates a potentially novel role during inner ear development. Fgf6 and Fgf7, although belonging to different subfamilies with diverged sequences, are expressed in similar patterns within the mesoderm. Alignment of protein sequences and phylogenetic analysis demonstrate that FGF5 and FGF6 are highly conserved between chick, human, mouse and zebrafish. FGF7 is similarly conserved except for the zebrafish, which has considerably diverged.
Development; Fibroblast growth factor; otic placode; pharyngeal arch; pharyngeal endoderm
Sclerostin is a highly conserved, secreted, cystine-knot protein which regulates osteoblast function. Humans with mutations in the sclerostin gene (SOST), manifest increased axial and appendicular skeletal bone density with attendant complications. In adult bone, sclerostin is expressed in osteocytes and osteoblasts. Danio rerio sclerostin-like protein is closely related to sea bass sclerostin, and is related to chicken and mammalian sclerostins. Little is known about the expression of sclerostin in early developing skeletal or extra-skeletal tissues. We assessed sclerostin (sost) gene expression in developing zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos with whole mount is situ hybridization methods. The earliest expression of sost RNA was noted during 12 hours post-fertilization (hpf). At 15 hpf, sost RNA was detected in the developing nervous system and in Kupffer’s vesicle. At 18, 20 and 22 hpf, expression in rhombic lip precursors was seen. By 24 hpf, expression in the upper and lower rhombic lip and developing spinal cord was noted. Expression in the rhombic lip and spinal cord persisted through 28 hpf and then diminished in intensity through 44 hpf. At 28 hpf, sost expression was noted in developing pharyngeal cartilage; expression in pharyngeal cartilage increased with time. By 48 hpf, sost RNA was clearly detected in the developing pharyngeal arch cartilage. Sost RNA was abundantly expressed in the pharyngeal arch cartilage, and in developing pectoral fins, 72, 96 and 120 hpf. Our study is the first detailed analysis of sost gene expression in early metazoan development.
Sclerostin; sost; skeleton; cartilage; brain
In the developing CNS, unique functional identities among neurons and glia are, in part, established as a result of successive transitions in gene expression programs within neural precursor cells. One of the temporal-identity windows within Drosophila CNS neural precursor cells or neuroblasts (NBs) is marked by the expression of a zinc-finger transcription factor (TF) gene, castor (cas). Our analysis of cis-regulatory DNA within a cas loss-of-function rescue fragment has identified seven enhancers that independently activate reporter transgene expression in specific sub-patterns of the wild-type embryonic cas gene expression domain. Most of these enhancers also regulate different aspects of cas expression within the larval and adult CNS. Phylogenetic footprinting reveals that each enhancer is made up of clusters of highly conserved DNA sequence blocks that are flanked by less-conserved inter-cluster spacer sequences. Comparative analysis of the conserved DNA also reveals that cas enhancers share different combinations of sequence elements and many of these shared elements contain core DNA-binding recognition motifs for characterized temporal-identity TFs. Intra-species alignments show that two of the sub-pattern enhancers originated from an inverted duplication and that this repeat is unique to the cas locus in all sequenced Drosophila species. Finally we show that three of the enhancers differentially require cas function for their wild-type regulatory behavior. Cas limits the expression of one enhancer while two others require cas function for full expression. These studies represent a starting point for the further analysis of cas gene expression and the TFs that regulate it.
Drosophila CNS development; cis-regulatory DNA; sub-pattern enhancers; DNA sequence conservation; castor gene regulation
Rb1 is a tumor suppressor gene that regulates cell cycle progression through interactions with E2F transcription factors. In recent years, new roles for Rb1 in regulating cellular differentiation have also emerged. For example, it has been shown that Rb1 regulates osteoblast differentiation in a cell cycle independent manner, by binding to the transcription factor Runx2, and facilitating the up-regulation of late bone differentiation markers. Based on the facts that Runx2 also functions in tooth development, and that little is known about potential roles for Rb1 in mammalian tooth development, here we evaluated the expression of Rb1 mRNA in developmentally staged mouse teeth. Our data show that Rb1 mRNA is expressed in both dental epithelial and dental mesenchymal progenitor cells. In addition, Rb1 mRNA appears upregulated in differentiating ameloblasts and odontoblasts, suggesting roles for Rb1 in tooth differentiation.
Rb1; tooth development; dental epithelium; dental mesenchyme; cell-cell signaling
Sperm transport, maturation and storage are the essential functions of the epididymis. The epididymis in the mouse is structurally characterized by regional and segmental organization including caput, corpus and cauda epididymis that are comprised of ten segments. Although several growth factor signaling pathways have been discovered in the epididymis, how these converge onto the cell cycle components is unknown. To begin to elucidate the growth factor control of cell cycle events in the epididymis, we analyzed the expression of D-type cyclins at different postnatal ages. At 7d, cyclin D1 was mainly expressed in the cauda epithelium, by 14d its expression occurred in the epithelium of caput, corpus and cauda that persisted up to 21d. By 42d, cyclin D1 was mostly detectable in the principal cells of the caput and corpus (segments 1–7) but not in the cauda epididymis. Expression of cyclin D2, unlike that of cyclin D1, was evident only at 42d but not earlier, and was mostly confined to corpus and cauda epithelium. In contrast to both cyclin D1 and D2, cyclin D3 was expressed primarily in the interstitium at 7d and by 21d its expression was localized to the epithelium of the corpus and cauda epididymis. By 42d, expression of cyclin D3 peaked in segments 6–10 and confined to basal and principal cells of the corpus and apical cells of the cauda epithelium. Ki67 immunoreactivity confirmed absence of cell proliferation despite continued expression of D-type cyclins in the adult epididymis. Collectively, on the basis of our immunophenotyping and protein expression data, we conclude that the D-type cyclins are expressed in a development -, segment-, and cell- specific manner in the postnatal mouse epididymis.
Epididymis; Cyclin D1; Cyclin D2; Cyclin D3; Ki67