Nanog, SoxB1 and Pou5f1/Oct4 regulate widespread zygotic gene activation during the maternal-to-zygotic transition
ABSTRACT: Upon fertilization, maternal factors direct development in a transcriptionally silent embryo. At the maternal-to-zygotic transition (MZT), a universal step in animal development, unknown maternal factors trigger zygotic genome activation (ZGA). In zebrafish, ZGA is required for gastrulation and clearance of maternal mRNAs, which is achieved in part by the conserved microRNA miR-430. However, the precise factors that activate the zygotic program remain largely unknown. Here we show that Nanog, Pou5f1 and SoxB1 are required for genome activation in zebrafish. We identified several hundred genes directly activated by maternal factors, thus constituting the first wave of zygotic transcription in zebrafish. Ribosome profiling in the pre-MZT embryo revealed that nanog, sox19b and pou5f1 are the most highly translated transcription factor mRNAs. Combined loss of function for Nanog, SoxB1 and Pou5f1 resulted in developmental arrest prior to gastrulation, and a failure to activate >75% of zygotic genes. Furthermore, we found that Nanog binds the miR-430 locus and together with Pou5f1 and SoxB1 initiate miR-430 expression and activity. Our results demonstrate that maternal Nanog, Pou5f1 and SoxB1 are required to initiate the zygotic developmental program and in turn trigger the clearance of the maternal program by activating miR-430 expression. Wild type and loss-of-function total mRNA sequencing of embryonic transcriptomes pre- and post-MZT; ribosome profiling pre-MZT
Project description:Background: Metazoan embryos undergo a maternal-to-zygotic transition (MZT) during which a subset of maternal gene products is eliminated and the zygotic genome becomes transcriptionally active. RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) and the microRNA-induced silencing complex (miRISC) – of which Argonaute 1 (AGO1) is a key component in Drosophila – target maternal mRNAs for degradation. The Drosophila Smaug, Brain tumor (BRAT) and Pumilio (PUM) RBPs direct the degradation of maternal mRNAs. Here we elucidate Smaug’s roles in regulation of miRNAs and miRISC during the MZT. Results: By global analysis of small RNAs at several stages during the MZT, we show that the vast majority of all miRNA species encoded by the Drosophila genome (85%) are expressed during the MZT. Whereas a subset of these miRNAs is loaded into oocytes by the mother and stays at constant levels during the MZT, dozens of miRNA species are either newly synthesized or re-expressed in the early embryo. Loss of Smaug has a profound effect on miRNAs but little effect on piRNAs or siRNAs. Smaug is required for production of new miRNAs during the MZT; Smaug-bound AGO1 reflects the constellation and abundance of the miRNAs present in early embryos; and Smaug is required for the increase in AGO1 protein levels that occurs during the MZT. As a consequence of low miRISC activity in smaug mutants, maternal mRNAs that are normally targeted for degradation by zygotic miRNAs fail to be cleared. BRAT and PUM share target mRNAs with miRISC during the MZT while the miR-309 miRNA family coregulates targets of BRAT but not PUM. Conclusions: Smaug controls the MZT through direct targeting of a subset of maternal mRNAs for degradation and, indirectly, through production and function of miRNAs and miRISC, which control clearance of a distinct subset of maternal mRNAs. BRAT and/or PUM function together with miRISC during the latter process. With respect to miRISC-dependent transcript degradation, Smaug is required (1) for the synthesis of miRNAs, (2) for synthesis and stabilization of AGO1, and (3) for action of AGO1 in association with its bound miRNAs. In smaug mutants a large number of maternal mRNAs persist and the MZT fails. Examination of miRNA expresssion at different time points in wild type and smuag mutant early embryos .
Project description:The earliest stages of development in most metazoans are driven by maternally deposited proteins and mRNAs, with widespread transcriptional activation of the zygotic genome occurring hours after fertilization, at a period known as the maternal-to-zygotic transition (MZT). In Drosophila, the MZT is preceded by the transcription of a small number of genes that initiate sex determination, patterning and other essential developmental processes. The zinc-finger transcription factor Zelda (ZLD) plays a key role in the transcriptional activation of these earliest-expressed genes. To better understand the mechanisms of ZLD activation and the range of its targets, we used chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled with high-throughput sequencing (ChIP-Seq) to map regions bound by ZLD prior to (mitotic cycles 8 and 9), during (mitotic cycles 13 and early 14) and after (late mitotic cycle 14) the MZT. Although only a handful of genes are transcribed prior to mitotic cycle 10, we identified thousands of regions bound by ZLD in cycle 8-9 embryos, most of which remain bound through mitotic cycle 14. As expected, these ZLD-bound regions include the promoters and enhancers of the small subset of genes transcribed at this early stage. However we also observed ZLD bound at cycle 8-9 to the promoters of a large fraction of the several thousand genes whose first transcription does not occur until roughly an hour and four mitotic cycles later. These early ZLD-bound regions include virtually all of the thousands of known and presumed enhancers bound at cycle 14 by the transcription factors that regulate patterned gene activation during the MZT. The association between early ZLD binding and MZT activity is so strong that ZLD binding alone can be used to identify active promoters and regulatory sequences with high specificity and selectivity. This strong early association of ZLD with regions not active until the MZT suggests that ZLD is not only required for the earliest wave of transcription, but also plays a major role in activating the genome at the MZT. Genome-wide mapping of Zelda in wild-type Drosophila melanogaster embryos prior (mitotic cycles 8-9), during (cycles 13-14), and after (late cycle 14) maternal-to-zygotic transition
Project description:Identification of the coding elements in the genome is a fundamental step to understanding the building blocks of living systems. Short peptides (< 100 aa) have emerged as important regulators of development and physiology, but their identification has been limited by their size. We have leveraged the periodicity of ribosome movement on the mRNA to define actively translated ORFs by ribosome footprinting. This approach identifies several hundred translated small ORFs in zebrafish and human. Computational prediction of small ORFs from codon conservation patterns corroborates and extends these findings and identifies conserved sequences in zebrafish and human, suggesting functional peptide products (micropeptides). These results identify micropeptide‐encoding genes in vertebrates, providing an entry point to define their function in vivo. Ribosome profiling experiments at five timepoints across zebrafish development in WT embryos
Project description:During the maternal-to-zygotic transition (MZT), maternal RNAs are actively degraded and replaced by newly-synthesized zygotic transcripts in a highly coordinated manner. However, it remains largely unknown how maternal mRNA decay is triggered in early vertebrate embryos. Here, through genome-wide profiling of RNA abundance and 3′ modification, we show that uridylation is induced at the onset of maternal mRNA clearance. The temporal control of uridylation is conserved in vertebrates. When the homologs of terminal uridylyltransferases TUT4 and TUT7 (TUT4/7) are depleted in zebrafish and Xenopus, maternal mRNA clearance is significantly delayed, leading to developmental defects during gastrulation. Short-tailed mRNAs are selectively uridylated by TUT4/7, with the highly uridylated transcripts degraded faster during the MZT than those with unmodified poly(A) tails. Our study demonstrates that uridylation plays a crucial role in timely mRNA degradation, thereby allowing the progression of early development. Overall design: Examination of zebrafish embryos injected with control or TUT4/7 morpholinos at 1-cell stage. RNA-seq libraries were prepared at different time points across the MZT period. Three experimental sets, rs1a, rs2b, and rs2, were conducted independently.
Project description:In general, RNA-binding proteins act to modulate gene expression at transcript level through degradation or at protein level through translation. To elucidate the effect of Whi3, a yeast RNA binding protein, on gene expression, we performed ribosome profiling experiment on whi3 mutant and wildtype cells. Comparison ribosome profiling and RNA-seq data between whi3 mutant and wildtype cells
Project description:During early stages of embryonic development the genome is transcriptionally inactive and cells are under the control of maternally provided mRNA and proteins. At a key point in development, known as the maternal to zygotic transition (MZT), the genome becomes activated and the maternally provided mRNAs begin to degrade. In the early zebrafish embryo, when under maternal control, cells divide rapidly and synchronously with cell cycles that lack gap phases. At cell cycle ten the introduction of gap phases lengthens the cell cycle and synchronised division is lost. During the MZT, zygotic activation of microRNAs leads to the targeted degradation of a number of maternally provided mRNAs, thus linking genome activation to maternal mRNA degredation.While the MZT has been studied in several different organisms the molecular mechanisms that coordinate genome activity and mRNA degradation remain largely unknown. For example, while the bulk of zygotic transcription occurs at cell cycle ten we do not understand why there is a minor wave of transcription before this time point. Similarly maternal mRNAs degrade at different rates, with only a percentage undergoing microRNA-mediated degredation. The aparant different rates of maternal mRNA degredation may be obscured by zygotic transcription.In order to gain an understanding of the MZT I intend to establish a precise understanding of transcription in the early embryo by using solexa sequencing to perform transcript counting at five different developmental stages that span the MZT. Specifically I intend to use crosses from two different zebrafish strains SAT (Sequenced AB and Tbingen, Zv9) and WIK. This project will allow one to understand the overall transcription profiles of genes in the early embryo, but importantly, the SNPs between the two different strains will determine if transcripts are maternal or zygotic (paternal). As a proof of principle we will first use one lane of sequencing to identify transcripts from a cross of an SAT and a WIK fish. This will allow us to observe SNPs between the two different strains. This will be run over one solexa lane. We will then sequence from five different time points on four different crosses SAT male and WIK female, WIK male and SAT female, WIK male and WIK female and SAT male with SAT female. We will prepare the libraries, which will be sequenced paired-end 54 bp over a total of seven lanes of solexa.. This data is part of a pre-publication release. For information on the proper use of pre-publication data shared by the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (including details of any publication moratoria), please see http://www.sanger.ac.uk/datasharing/
Project description:In all animals, the initial events of embryogenesis are controlled by maternal gene products that are deposited into the developing oocyte. At some point after fertilization, control of embryogenesis is transferred to the zygotic genome in a process called the maternal to zygotic transition (MZT). During this time maternal RNAs are degraded and zygotic RNAs are transcribed1. A long standing question has been, what factors regulate these events? The recent findings that microRNAs and Smaugs mediate maternal transcript degradation brought new life to this old problem2,3, however, the transcription factors that activate zygotic gene expression remained elusive. A clue came from the finding that many early zygotic genes in Drosophila share a cis-regulatory heptamer motif, CAGGTAG and related sequences, collectively referred to as TAG-team sites4,5. We asked whether there was a dedicated transcription factor that interacts with these sites to activate early genes. Here we report the discovery of a zinc-finger protein, Zelda (Zld) that binds specifically to TAG-team sites, and is capable of activating transcription in transient transfection assays. Mutant embryos lacking zld are defective in the cellularization process, and fail to activate the transcription of many early zygotic genes involved in cellularization, sex determination, and dorsoventral patterning. Global expression profiling confirmed that Zld plays a key role in the activation of the early zygotic genome, and suggests that Zld may also play a role in maternal RNA degradation during the MZT since many RNAs are up-regulated in the absence of Zld. Keywords: Drosophila early embryo, MZT, transcriptional activator Overall design: Total RNA samples were extracted from three replicate collections of 1-2 hr yw and M- zld embryos by TRIzol (invitrogen). A portion of the collected embryos was fixed and stained with DAPI; 90% were in nuclear cycles 8 to13. cDNA was prepared using the GeneChip® HT One-Cycle cDNA Synthesis Kit (Manufactured by Invitrogen for Affymetrix) and labeled with the BioArray™ HighYield™ RNA Transcript Labeling Kit (Enzo). Labeled probes were hybridized to Drosophila Genome 2 Affymetrix arrays and processed by a GeneChip Fluidics Station 400. Data were acquired and normalized by the GeneChip® Scanner 3000 and processed by the Affymetrix GeneChip Operating Software (GCOS). t-test analysis was performed on the data from three biological replicates.
Project description:Background: During the maternal-to-zygotic transition (MZT) vast changes in the embryonic transcriptome are produced by a combination of two processes: elimination of maternally provided mRNAs and synthesis of new transcripts from the zygotic genome. Previous genome-wide analyses of the MZT have been restricted to whole embryos. Here we report the first such analysis for primordial germ cells (PGCs), the progenitors of the germ-line stem cells. Results: We purified PGCs from Drosophila embryos, defined their proteome and transcriptome, and assessed the content, scale and dynamics of their MZT. Transcripts encoding proteins that implement particular types of biological functions group into nine distinct expression profiles, reflecting coordinate control at the transcriptional and posttranscriptional levels. mRNAs encoding germ-plasm components and cell-cell signaling molecules are rapidly degraded while new transcription produces mRNAs encoding the core transcriptional and protein synthetic machineries. The RNA-binding protein, Smaug, is essential for the PGC MZT, clearing transcripts encoding proteins that regulate stem cell behavior, transcriptional and posttranscriptional processes. Computational analyses suggest that Smaug and AU-rich element binding-proteins function independently to control transcript elimination. Conclusion: The scale of the MZT is similar in the soma and PGCs. However, the timing and content of their MZTs differ, reflecting the distinct developmental imperatives of these cell types. The PGC MZT is delayed relative to that in the soma, likely because relief of PGC-specific transcriptional silencing is required for zygotic genome activation as well as for efficient maternal transcript clearance. There are 26 samples in total, including 1-to-3 hour, 3-to-5 hour, 5-to-7 hour PGCs in wild type and smaug mutant flies and 1-to-3 hour somatic cells in wild type flies. Except for the 1-to-3 hour and 3-to-5 hour smaug mutant PGCs which have three replicates, all the other samples have four replicates.