The Lim-kinase (LIMK) proteins are important for the regulation of the actin cytoskeleton, in particular the control of actin nucleation and depolymerisation via regulation of cofilin, and hence may control a large number of processes during development, including cell tensegrity, migration, cell cycling, and axon guidance. LIMK1/LIMK2 knockouts disrupt spinal cord morphogenesis and synapse formation but other tissues and developmental processes that require LIMK are yet to be fully determined. To identify tissues and cell-types that may require LIMK, we characterised the pattern of LIMK1 protein during mouse embryogenesis. We showed that LIMK1 displays an expression pattern that is temporally dynamic and tissue-specific. In several tissues LIMK1 is detected in cell-types that also express Wilms’ tumour protein 1 and that undergo transitions between epithelial and mesenchymal states, including the pleura, epicardium, kidney nephrons, and gonads. LIMK1 was also found in a subset of cells in the dorsal retina, and in mesenchymal cells surrounding the peripheral nerves. This detailed study of the spatial and temporal expression of LIMK1 shows that LIMK1 expression is more dynamic than previously reported, in particular at sites of tissue–tissue interactions guiding multiple developmental processes.
Limk; Kidney; Heart; Epithelia-to-mesenchyme transition; Mesenchyme-to-epithelia transition; Eye; Testes
Sizn1 (Zcchc12) is a transcriptional co-activator that positively modulates BMP (Bone Morphogenic Protein) signaling through its interaction with Smad family members and CBP. We have demonstrated a role for Sizn1 in basal forebrain cholinergic neuron specific gene expression. Furthermore, mutations in SIZN1 have been associated with X-linked mental retardation. Given the defined role of SIZN1 in mental retardation, knowing its complete forebrain expression pattern is essential to further elucidating its role in cognition. To better define the dynamic expression pattern of Sizn1 during forebrain development, we investigated its expression in mouse brain development from embryonic day 8.0 (E8.0) to adult. We found that Sizn1 is primarily restricted to the ventral forebrain including the medial ganglionic eminence, the septum, amygdala, and striatum. In addition, Sizn1 expression is detected in the cortical hem and Pallial-subpallial boundary (PSB; anti-hem); both sources of Cajal-Retzius cells. Sizn1 expression in the dorsal forebrain is restricted to a subset of cells in the marginal zone that also express Reln, indicative of Cajal-Retzius cells. These data provide novel information on brain regions and cell types that express Sizn1, facilitating further investigations into the function of Sizn1 in both development and the pathogenesis of mental retardation.
Morphological and functional changes during ameloblast and odontoblast differentiation suggest that enamel and dentin formation is under circadian control. Circadian rhythms are endogenous self-sustained oscillations with periods of 24 hours that control diverse physiological and metabolic processes. Mammalian clock genes play a key role in synchronizing circadian functions in many organs. However, close to nothing is known on clock genes expression during tooth development. In this work, we investigated the expression of four clock genes during tooth development. Our results showed that circadian clock genes Bmal1, clock, per1, and per2 mRNAs were detected in teeth by RT-PCR. Immunohistochemistry showed that clock protein expression was first detected in teeth at the bell stage (E17), being expressed in EOE and dental papilla cells. At post-natal day four (PN4), all four clock proteins continued to be expressed in teeth but with different intensities, being strongly expressed within the nucleus of ameloblasts and odontoblasts and down-regulated in dental pulp cells. Interestingly, at PN21 incisor, expression of clock proteins was down-regulated in odontoblasts of the crown-analogue side but expression was persisting in root-analogue side odontoblasts. In contrast, both crown and root odontoblasts were strongly stained for all four clock proteins in first molars at PN21. Within the periodontal ligament (PDL) space, epithelial rests of Malassez (ERM) showed the strongest expression among other PDL cells. Our data suggests that clock genes might be involved in the regulation of ameloblast and odontoblast functions, such as enamel and dentin protein secretion and matrix mineralization.
Clock genes; Tooth development; Bmal1; Clock; Per1; Per2; expression pattern; immunohistochemistry
Nonmuscle myosin II (myosin hereafter) has well-established roles in generating contractile force on actin filaments during morphogenetic processes in all metazoans. Myosin activation is regulated by phosphorylation of the myosin regulatory light chain (MRCL, encoded by spaghetti squash or sqh in Drosophila) first on Ser21 and subsequently on Thr20. These phosphorylation events are positively controlled by a variety of kinases including myosin light chain kinase, Rho kinase, citron kinase, and AMP kinase and are negatively regulated by myosin phosphatase. The activation of myosin is thus highly regulated and likely developmentally controlled. In order to monitor the activity of myosin during development, we have generated antibodies against the monophosphorylated (Sqh1P) and diphosphorylated (Sqh2P) forms of Sqh. We first show that the antibodies are highly specific. We then used these antibodies to monitor myosin activation in wild type Drosophila tissues. Interestingly, Sqh1P and Sqh2P show distinct patterns of expression in embryos. Sqh1P is expressed nearly ubiquitously and outlines cells consistent with a junctional localization, whereas Sqh2P is strongly expressed on the apical surfaces and in filopodia of tissues undergoing extensive cell shape change or cell movements including the invaginating fore- and hindgut, the invaginating tracheal system, the dorsal pouch and the dorsal most row of epidermal (DME) cells during dorsal closure. In imaginal discs, Sqh1P predominantly localizes in the adherens junction, whereas Sqh2P locates to the apical domain. These antibodies thus have the potential to be very useful in monitoring myosin activation for functional studies of morphogenesis in Drosophila.
Drosophila; myosin; myosin regulatory light chain; spaghetti squash; dorsal closure; morphogenesis
Dysregulation of the transcription factor CRTC1 by a t(11;19) chromosomal rearrangement mediates the formation of mucoepidermoid salivary gland carcinoma (MEC). Although the Crtc1 promoter is consistently active in fusion-positive MEC and low levels of Crtc1 transcripts have been reported in normal adult salivary glands, the distribution of CRTC1 protein in the normal salivary gland is not known. The aim of this study was to determine if CRTC1, like many known oncogenes, is expressed during early submandibular salivary gland (SMG) development and re-expressed in an experimental tumor model. Our results indicate that CRTC1 protein is expressed in SMG epithelia during early stages of morphogenesis, disappears with differentiation, and reappears in initial tumor-like pathology. This stage-dependent expression pattern suggests that CRTC1 may play a role during embryonic SMG branching morphogenesis but not for pro-acinar/acinar differentiation, supporting a precursor cell origin for MEC tumorigenesis. Moreover, the coincident expression of CRTC1 protein and cell proliferation markers in tumor-like histopathology suggests that CRTC1-mediated cell proliferation may contribute, in part, to initial tumor formation.
CREB coactivator; CRTC1; salivary glands; development; tumorigenesis; cell proliferation; mucoepidermoid carcinoma
The lens of the eye is a transparent structure responsible for focusing light onto the retina. It is composed of two morphologically different cell types, epithelial cells found on the anterior surface and the fiber cells that are continuously formed by the differentiation of epithelial cells at the lens equator. The differentiation of an epithelial precursor cell into a fiber cell is associated with a dramatic increase in membrane protein synthesis. How the terminally differentiating fiber cells cope with the increased demand on the endoplasmic reticulum for this membrane protein synthesis is not known. In the present study, we have found evidence of Unfolded Protein Response (UPR) activation during normal lens development and differentiation in the mouse. The ER-resident chaperones, immunoglobulin heavy chain binding protein (BiP) and protein disulfide isomerase (PDI), were expressed at high levels in the newly forming fiber cells of embryonic lenses. These fiber cells also expressed the UPR-associated molecules; XBP1, ATF6, phospho-PERK and ATF4 during embryogenesis. Moreover, spliced XBP1, cleaved ATF6, and phospho-eIF2 were detected in embryonic mouse lenses suggesting that UPR pathways are active in this tissue. These results propose a role for UPR activation in lens fiber cell differentiation during embryogenesis.
Minor fibrillar collagens are recognized as the organizers and nucleators during collagen fibrillogenesis but likely serve additional functions. The minor fibrillar collagens include collagens type V and type XI. Mutations of collagen type V and XI can cause Ehlers Danlos, Stickler’s, and Marshall’s syndromes in human. We have characterized the spatiotemporal expression patterns of Col11a1, Col11a2, Col5a1 as well as Col5a3 in zebrafish embryos by in situ hybridization. Col5a1 is expressed in developing somites, neural crest, the head mesenchyme, developing cranial cartilage, pharyngeal arches and vertebrae. Col5a3 is detected in the notochord, mesenchyme cells in the eyes and lens. Both Col11a1 and Col11a2 have similar expression patterns, including notochord, otic vesicle, and developing cranial cartilages. Zebrafish may therefore serve as a valuable vertebrate model system for the study of diseases associated with collagens type V and XI mutations.
minor fibrillar collagens; zebrafish; development; in situ hybridization; Danio rerio
Expression of astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) is elevated in multiple human cancers including brain tumors, neuroblastomas, melanomas, breast cancers, non-small cell lung cancers, liver cancers, prostate cancers, and esophageal cancers. This gene plays crucial roles in tumor cell growth, invasion, angiogenesis and progression to metastasis. In addition, over-expression of AEG-1 protects primary and transformed cells from apoptosis-inducing signals by activating PI3K-Akt signaling pathways. These results suggest that AEG-1 is intimately involved in tumorigenesis and may serve as a potential therapeutic target for various human cancers. However, the normal physiological functions of AEG-1 require clarification. We presently analyzed the expression pattern of AEG-1 during mouse development. AEG-1 was expressed in mid-to-hindbrain, fronto-nasal processes, limbs, and pharyngeal arches in the early developmental period from E8.5 to E9.5. In addition, at stages of E12.5-E18.5 AEG-1 was localized in the brain, and olfactory and skeletal systems suggesting a role in neurogenesis, as well as in skin, including hair follicles, and in the liver, which are organ sites in which AEG-1 has been implicated in tumor development and progression. AEG-1 co-localized with Ki-67, indicating a role in cell proliferation, as previously revealed in tumorigenesis. Taken together, these results suggest that AEG-1 may play a prominent role during normal mouse development in the context of cell proliferation as well as differentiation, and that temporal regulation of AEG-1 expression may be required during specific stages and in specific tissues during development.
AEG-1; development; mouse embryo; cell proliferation; cancer
The genome of C. elegans encodes more than 280 nuclear hormone receptors (NHRs) in contrast to the 48 NHRs in humans and 18 NHRs in Drosophila. The majority of the C. elegans NHRs are categorized as supplementary nuclear receptors (supnrs) that evolved by successive duplications of a single ancestral gene. The evolutionary pressures that lead to the expansion of NHRs in nematodes, as well as the function of the majority of supnrs, are not known. Here, we have studied the expression of seven genes organized in a cluster on chromosome V: nhr-206, nhr-208, nhr-207, nhr-209, nhr-154, nhr-153 and nhr-136. Reverse transcription – quantitative PCR and analyses using transgenic lines carrying GFP fusion genes with their putative promoters revealed that all seven genes of this cluster are expressed and five have partially overlapping expression patterns including in the pharynx, intestine, certain neurons, the anal sphincter muscle, and male specific cells. Four genes in this cluster are conserved between C. elegans and C. briggsae whereas three genes are present only in C. elegans, the apparent result of a relatively recent expansion. Interestingly, we find that a subset of the conserved and non-conserved genes in this cluster respond transcriptionally to fasting in tissue-specific patterns. Our results reveal the diversification of the temporal, spatial, and metabolic gene expression patterns coupled with evolutionary drift within supnr family members.
Caenorhabditis elegans; Caenorhabditis briggsae; nuclear hormone receptor; gene expression; fasting
The Norrie disease gene (Ndp) codes for a secreted protein, Norrin, that activates canonical Wnt signaling by binding to its receptor, Frizzled-4. This signaling system is required for normal vascular development in the retina and for vascular survival in the cochlea. In mammals, the pattern of Ndp expression beyond the retina is poorly defined due to the low abundance of Norrin mRNA and protein. Here we characterize Ndp expression during mouse development by studying a knock-in mouse that carries the coding sequence of human placental alkaline phosphatase (AP) inserted at the Ndp locus (NdpAP). In the CNS, NdpAP expression is apparent by E10.5 and is dynamic and complex. The anatomically delimited regions of NdpAP expression observed prenatally in the CNS are replaced postnatally by widespread expression in astrocytes in the forebrain and midbrain, Bergman glia in the cerebellum, and Müller glia in the retina. In the developing and adult cochlea, NdpAP expression is closely associated with two densely vascularized regions, the stria vascularis and a capillary plexus between the organ of Corti and the spiral ganglion. These observations suggest the possibility that Norrin may have developmental and/or homeostatic functions beyond the retina and cochlea.
Norrin; Norrie disease; Frizzled-4; mouse; brain development; vascular development
Accurate measurements of transcript abundance are a prerequisite to understand gene activity in development. Using the NanoString nCounter, an RNA counting device, we measured the prevalence of 172 transcription factors and signaling molecules in early sea urchin development. These measurements show high fidelity over more than five orders of magnitude down to a few transcripts per embryo. Most of the genes included are locally restricted in their spatial expression, and contribute to the divergent regulatory states of cells in the developing embryo. In order to obtain high-resolution expression, profiles from fertilization to late gastrulation samples were collected at hourly intervals. The measured time courses agree well with, and substantially extend, prior relative abundance measurements obtained by quantitative PCR. High temporal resolution permits sequences of successively activated genes to be precisely delineated providing an ancillary tool for assembling maps of gene regulatory networks. The data are available via an interactive website for quick plotting of selected time courses.
Transcription factor; Gene expression time course; mRNA prevalence measurement; Embryogenesis
Wnt signaling is essential for tooth formation. Dact proteins modulate Wnt signaling by binding to the intracellular protein Dishevelled (Dvl). Comparison of all known mouse Dact genes, Dact1-3, from the morphological initiation of mandibular first molar development after the onset of the root formation using sectional in situ hybridization showed distinct, complementary and overlapping expression patterns for the studied genes. While Dact2 expression was restricted to the dental epithelium including the enamel knot signaling centers and tooth specific preameloblasts, Dact1 and Dact3 showed developmentally regulated expression in the dental mesenchyme. Both mRNAs were first detected in the presumptive dental mesenchyme. After being downregulated from the condensed dental mesenchyme of the bud stage tooth germ, Dact1 was upregulated in the dental follicle masenchyme at the cap stage and subsequently also in the dental papilla at the bell stage where the expression persisted to the postnatal stages. In contrast, Dact3 transcripts persisted throughout the dental mesenchymal tissue components including the tooth-specific cells, preodontoblasts before transcripts were largely downregulated from the tooth germ postnatally. Collectively these results suggest that Dact1 and -3 may contribute to early tooth formation by modulation of Wnt signaling pathways in the mesenchyme, including preodontoblasts, whereas Dact2 may play important signal-modulating roles in the adjacent epithelial cells including the enamel knot signaling centers and preameloblasts. Future loss-of-function studies will help elucidate whether any of these functions are redundant, particularly for Dact1 and Dact3.
The zebrafish provides a useful experimental system for investigations of aural development. To permit the controlled expression of transgenes in developing hair cells, we isolated the genomic control regions of the parvalbumin 3a (pvalb3a) and parvalbumin 3b (pvalb3b) genes. Deletion analysis and somatic-cell transgenesis restricted the cis-acting control regions for hair cells to as little as 484 base pairs for pvalb3a and 650 base pairs for pvalb3b. Using both meganuclease-mediated and standard methods, we produced transgenic animals that transmit transgenes through their germ lines. These fish express GFP in hair cells in the inner ear and lateral line. Two stable transgenic lines express GFP prior to hair-bundle formation, so the associated promoter constructs are suitable for manipulating gene expression during bundle development. We additionally identified a transgenic line that offers variable labeling of supporting cells.
balance; hearing; lateral line; mantle cell; parvalbumin; supporting cell
Runx genes encode a family of proteins defined by the highly conserved Runt DNA-binding domain. Studies in several organisms have shown that these transcription factors regulate multiple aspects of embryonic development and are responsible for the pathogenesis of several human diseases. Here we report the cloning and expression of Runx3 during Xenopus development and compare its expression pattern to other Runx family members, Runx1 and Runx2, and to Cbfβ, the obligatory binding-partner of Runx proteins. Using in situ hybridization in the whole embryo and on sections we show that Runx3 is co-expressed with Runx1 in the hematopoietic lineage and in Rohon-Beard sensory neurons. In contrast Runx3 and Runx2 are co-expressed in craniofacial cartilage elements. Runx3 shows also unique expression domains in a number of derivatives of the neurogenic placodes, including the ganglia of the anteroposterior and middle lateral line nerves, and ganglia of the trigeminal, glossopharyngeal, facial and vagal nerves. These observations suggest a critical role for Runx3 in the development of cranial sensory neurons, while in other tissues its co-expression with Runx1 or Runx2 may signify functional redundancy between these family members.
Xenopus; Runx1; Runx2; Runx3; Cbfβ; Islet1; Pax3; Placode; Cartilage; Craniofacial; Rohon-Beard neuron; Cranial nerve; Trigeminal; Profundal; Vagal; Glossopharyngeal; Lateral line