Expression of Sonic hedgehog gene in regenerating newt limb blastemas recapitulates that in developing limb buds.
ABSTRACT: This study aimed at characterizing the Sonic hedgehog (shh) gene in newt limbs, which encodes a signaling molecule of the zone of polarizing activity (ZPA) responsible for determining the anterior-posterior axis of the embryonic chicken and mouse limbs. The reverse transcription-PCR showed that adult newt regenerating limbs express shh genes. In situ hybridization experiments demonstrated that shh genes were expressed in mesenchymal cells of the posterior region of both embryonic buds and regenerating blastemas of newt limbs, strongly suggesting the presence of ZPA in these tissues. Experiments of the axial reversal graft of blastemas further supported this suggestion. The grafted blastemas regenerated supernumerary limbs, and this has been explained by three models: the polar coordinate model, the boundary model, and the polarizing zone model. In favor of the third model, the shh gene was expressed not only in the original region (new anterior region) of the graft, but also ectopically in the other region (new posterior region) of the same graft. This study implies that the regenerating limb blastema produces ZPA as the signaling center of the AP patterning as in the developing limb bud and, therefore, supports the notion that the limb regeneration recapitulates the limb development.
Project description:Among mammals, modern cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) are unusual in the absence of hind limbs. However, cetacean embryos do initiate hind-limb bud development. In dolphins, the bud arrests and degenerates around the fifth gestational week. Initial limb outgrowth in amniotes is maintained by two signaling centers, the apical ectodermal ridge (AER) and the zone of polarizing activity (ZPA). Our data indicate that the cetacean hind-limb bud forms an AER and that this structure expresses Fgf8 initially, but that neither the AER nor Fgf8 expression is maintained. Moreover, Sonic hedgehog (Shh), which mediates the signaling activity of the ZPA, is absent from the dolphin hind-limb bud. We find that failure to establish a ZPA is associated with the absence of Hand2, an upstream regulator of Shh. Interpreting our results in the context of both the cetacean fossil record and the known functions of Shh suggests that reduction of Shh expression may have occurred approximately 41 million years ago and led to the loss of distal limb elements. The total loss of Shh expression may account for the further loss of hind-limb elements that occurred near the origin of the modern suborders of cetaceans approximately 34 million years ago. Integration of paleontological and developmental data suggests that hind-limb size was reduced by gradually operating microevolutionary changes. Long after locomotor function was totally lost, modulation of developmental control genes eliminated most of the hind-limb skeleton. Hence, macroevolutionary changes in gene expression did not drive the initial reduction in hind-limb size.
Project description:Sonic hedgehog (Shh) expression during limb development is crucial for specifying the identity and number of digits. The spatial pattern of Shh expression is restricted to a region called the zone of polarizing activity (ZPA), and this expression is controlled from a long distance by the cis-regulator ZRS. Here, members of two groups of ETS transcription factors are shown to act directly at the ZRS mediating a differential effect on Shh, defining its spatial expression pattern. Occupancy at multiple GABP?/ETS1 sites regulates the position of the ZPA boundary, whereas ETV4/ETV5 binding restricts expression outside the ZPA. The ETS gene family is therefore attributed with specifying the boundaries of the classical ZPA. Two point mutations within the ZRS change the profile of ETS binding and activate Shh expression at an ectopic site in the limb bud. These molecular changes define a pathogenetic mechanism that leads to preaxial polydactyly (PPD).
Project description:Hereditary Multiple Malformation (HMM) is a naturally occurring, autosomal recessive, homozygous lethal mutation found in Japanese quail. Homozygote embryos (hmm-/-) show polydactyly similar to talpid2 and talpid3 mutants. Here we characterize the molecular profile of the hmm-/- limb bud and identify the cellular mechanisms that cause its polydactyly. The hmm-/- limb bud shows a severe lack of sonic hedgehog (SHH) signaling, and the autopod has 4 to 11 unidentifiable digits with syn-, poly-, and brachydactyly. The Zone of Polarizing Activity (ZPA) of the hmm-/- limb bud does not show polarizing activity regardless of the presence of SHH protein, indicating that either the secretion pathway of SHH is defective or the SHH protein is dysfunctional. Furthermore, mesenchymal cells in the hmm-/- limb bud do not respond to ZPA transplanted from the normal limb bud, suggesting that signal transduction downstream of SHH is also defective. Since primary cilia are present in the hmm-/- limb bud, the causal gene must be different from talpid2 and talpid3. In the hmm-/- limb bud, a high amount of GLI3A protein is expressed and GLI3 protein is localized to the nucleus. Our results suggest that the regulatory mechanism of GLI3 is disorganized in the hmm-/- limb bud.
Project description:The limb is widely used as a model developmental system and changes to gene expression patterns in its signaling centers, notably the zone of polarizing activity (ZPA) and the apical ectodermal ridge (AER), are known to cause limb malformations and evolutionary differences in limb morphology. Although several genes that define these limb signaling centers have been described, the identification of regulatory elements that are active within these centers has been limited. By dissecting mouse E11.5 limbs that fluorescently mark the ZPA or AER, followed by fluorescence-activated cell sorting and low-cell H3K27ac ChIP-seq, we identified thousands of specific signaling-center enhancers. Our ChIP-seq datasets show strong correlation with ZPA- and AER-expressed genes, previously characterized functional ZPA and AER enhancers and enrichment for relevant biological terms related to limb development and malformation for the neighboring genes. Using transgenic assays, we show that several of these sequences function as ZPA and AER enhancers. Our results identify novel ZPA and AER enhancers that could be important regulators of genes involved in the establishment of these specialized regions and the patterning of tetrapod limbs.
Project description:Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) of regenerating urodele limbs have been suggested to play crucial roles in the process of the dedifferentiation of cells in the damaged tissues and the ensuing blastema formation because the activation of MMPs is an early and conspicuous event occurring in the amputated limb. MMP cDNAs were cloned as products of the reverse transcription-PCR from cDNA libraries of newt limbs, and their structures were characterized. Three cDNAs encoding newt MMPs (2D-1, 2D-19, and 2D-24) have been cloned from second day postamputation regenerating limbs, and a cDNA (EB-1) was cloned from early bud-stage regenerating limbs. These cDNAs included the full-length coding regions. The deduced amino acid sequences of 2D-1, 2D-19, 2D-24, and EB-1 had a homology with mammalian MMP9, MMP3/10, MMP3/10, and MMP13, respectively. The basic motif of these newt MMP genes was similar to mammalian counterparts and contained regions encoding a putative signal sequence, a propeptide, an active site with three zinc-binding histidine residues, a calcium-binding domain, a hemopexin region, and three key cysteine residues. However, some unique molecular evolutionary features were also found in the newt MMPs. cDNAs of 2D-19 and 2D-24 contained a specific insertion and deletion, respectively. The insertion of 2D-19 is threonine-rich, similar to the threonine cluster found in the collagenase-like sea urchin hatching enzyme. Northern blot analysis showed that the expression levels of the newt MMPs were dramatically increased after amputation, suggesting that they play an important role(s) in tissue remodeling of the regenerating limb.
Project description:During limb development, fibroblast growth factors (Fgfs) govern proximal⁻distal outgrowth and patterning. FGFs also synchronize developmental patterning between the proximal⁻distal and anterior⁻posterior axes by maintaining Sonic hedgehog (Shh) expression in cells of the zone of polarizing activity (ZPA) in the distal posterior mesoderm. Shh, in turn, maintains Fgfs in the apical ectodermal ridge (AER) that caps the distal tip of the limb bud. Crosstalk between Fgf and Shh signaling is critical for patterned limb development, but the mechanisms underlying this feedback loop are not well-characterized. Implantation of Fgf beads in the proximal posterior limb bud can maintain SHH expression in the former ZPA domain (evident 3 h after application), while prolonged exposure (24 h) can induce SHH outside of this domain. Although temporally and spatially disparate, comparative analysis of transcriptome data from these different populations accentuated genes involved in SHH regulation. Comparative analysis identified 25 candidates common to both treatments, with eight linked to SHH expression or function. Furthermore, we demonstrated that LHX2, a LIM Homeodomain transcription factor, is an intermediate in the FGF-mediated regulation of SHH. Our data suggest that LHX2 acts as a competency factor maintaining distal posterior SHH expression subjacent to the AER.
Project description:Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling in the limb plays a central role in coordination of limb patterning and outgrowth. Shh expression in the limb is limited to the cells of the zone of polarizing activity (ZPA), located in posterior limb bud mesoderm. Shh is not expressed by limb ectoderm or apical ectodermal ridge (AER), but recent studies suggest a role for AER-Shh signaling in limb patterning. Here, we have examined the effects of activation of Shh signaling in the AER. We find that targeted expression of Shh in the AER activates constitutive Shh signaling throughout the AER and subjacent limb mesoderm, and causes a range of limb patterning defects with progressive severity from mild polydactyly, to polysyndactyly with proximal defects, to severe oligodactyly with phocomelia and partial limb ventralization. Our studies emphasize the importance of control of the timing, level and location of Shh pathway signaling for limb anterior-posterior, proximal-distal, and dorsal-ventral patterning.
Project description:The gene encoding the secreted protein Sonic hedgehog (Shh) is expressed in the polarizing region (or zone of polarizing activity), a small group of mesenchyme cells at the posterior margin of the vertebrate limb bud. Detailed analyses have revealed that Shh has the properties of the long sought after polarizing region morphogen that specifies positional values across the antero-posterior axis (e.g., thumb to little finger axis) of the limb. Shh has also been shown to control the width of the limb bud by stimulating mesenchyme cell proliferation and by regulating the antero-posterior length of the apical ectodermal ridge, the signaling region required for limb bud outgrowth and the laying down of structures along the proximo-distal axis (e.g., shoulder to digits axis) of the limb. It has been shown that Shh signaling can specify antero-posterior positional values in limb buds in both a concentration- (paracrine) and time-dependent (autocrine) fashion. Currently there are several models for how Shh specifies positional values over time in the limb buds of chick and mouse embryos and how this is integrated with growth. Extensive work has elucidated downstream transcriptional targets of Shh signaling. Nevertheless, it remains unclear how antero-posterior positional values are encoded and then interpreted to give the particular structure appropriate to that position, for example, the type of digit. A distant cis-regulatory enhancer controls limb-bud-specific expression of Shh and the discovery of increasing numbers of interacting transcription factors indicate complex spatiotemporal regulation. Altered Shh signaling is implicated in clinical conditions with congenital limb defects and in the evolution of the morphological diversity of vertebrate limbs.
Project description:During limb development, fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) govern proximal-distal outgrowth and patterning. FGFs also synchronize developmental patterning between the proximal-distal and anterior-posterior axes by maintaining sonic hedgehog (SHH) expression in cells of the zone of polarizing activity (ZPA) in the distal posterior mesoderm. SHH, in turn, maintains FGFs in the apical ectodermal ridge (AER) which caps the distal tip of the limb bud. Crosstalk between FGF and SHH signaling is critical for patterned limb development, but the mechanisms underlying this feedback loop are not well characterized. Implantation of FGF beads in the proximal posterior limb bud can maintain SHH expression in the former ZPA domain (evident 3hrs after application), while prolonged exposure (24hrs) can induce SHH outside of this domain. Although temporally and spatially disparate, comparative analysis of transcriptome data from these different populations enriched molecules required for FGF-mediated SHH regulation. Overall design: Total RNA was extracted from SHH-expressing chick limb bud tissue following 24hrs of FGF2 treatment and compared to PBS-treated control ------------------------------- Authors state that they are "unable to locate the CEL files".
Project description:Some organisms, such as the Mexican axolotl, have the capacity to regenerate complicated biological structures throughout their lives. Which molecular pathways are sufficient to induce a complete endogenous regenerative response in injured tissue is an important question that remains unanswered. Using a gain-of-function regeneration assay, known as the Accessory Limb Model (ALM), we and others have begun to identify the molecular underpinnings of the three essential requirements for limb regeneration; wounding, neurotrophic signaling, and the induction of pattern from cells that retain positional memory. We have previously shown that treatment of Mexican axolotls with exogenous retinoic acid (RA) is sufficient to induce the formation of complete limb structures from blastemas that were generated by deviating a nerve bundle into an anterior-located wound site on the limb. Here we show that these ectopic structures are capable of regenerating and inducing new pattern to form when grafted into new anterior-located wounds. We additionally found that the expression of Alx4 decreases, and Shh expression increases in these anterior located blastemas, but not in the mature anterior tissues, supporting the hypothesis that RA treatment posteriorizes blastema tissue. Based on these and previous observations, we used the ALM assay to test the hypothesis that a complete regenerative response can be generated by treating anterior-located superficial limb wounds with a specific combination of growth factors at defined developmental stages. Our data shows that limb wounds that are first treated with a combination of FGF-2, FGF-8, and BMP-2, followed by RA treatment of the resultant mid-bud stage blastema, will result in the generation of limbs with complete proximal/distal and anterior/posterior limb axes. Thus, the minimal signaling requirements from the nerve and a positional disparity are achieved with the application of this specific combination of signaling molecules.