Comparison of pattern detection methods in microarray time series of the segmentation clock.
ABSTRACT: While genome-wide gene expression data are generated at an increasing rate, the repertoire of approaches for pattern discovery in these data is still limited. Identifying subtle patterns of interest in large amounts of data (tens of thousands of profiles) associated with a certain level of noise remains a challenge. A microarray time series was recently generated to study the transcriptional program of the mouse segmentation clock, a biological oscillator associated with the periodic formation of the segments of the body axis. A method related to Fourier analysis, the Lomb-Scargle periodogram, was used to detect periodic profiles in the dataset, leading to the identification of a novel set of cyclic genes associated with the segmentation clock. Here, we applied to the same microarray time series dataset four distinct mathematical methods to identify significant patterns in gene expression profiles. These methods are called: Phase consistency, Address reduction, Cyclohedron test and Stable persistence, and are based on different conceptual frameworks that are either hypothesis- or data-driven. Some of the methods, unlike Fourier transforms, are not dependent on the assumption of periodicity of the pattern of interest. Remarkably, these methods identified blindly the expression profiles of known cyclic genes as the most significant patterns in the dataset. Many candidate genes predicted by more than one approach appeared to be true positive cyclic genes and will be of particular interest for future research. In addition, these methods predicted novel candidate cyclic genes that were consistent with previous biological knowledge and experimental validation in mouse embryos. Our results demonstrate the utility of these novel pattern detection strategies, notably for detection of periodic profiles, and suggest that combining several distinct mathematical approaches to analyze microarray datasets is a valuable strategy for identifying genes that exhibit novel, interesting transcriptional patterns.
Project description:Segmentation is an organizing principle of body plans. The segmentation clock, a molecular oscillator best illustrated by the cyclic expression of Notch signalling genes, controls the periodic cleavage of somites from unsegmented presomitic mesoderm during vertebrate segmentation. Wnt3a controls the spatiotemporal expression of cyclic Notch genes; however, the underlying mechanisms remain obscure. Here we show by transcriptional profiling of Wnt3a (-/-) embryos that the bHLH transcription factor, Mesogenin1 (Msgn1), is a direct target gene of Wnt3a. To identify Msgn1 targets, we conducted genome-wide studies of Msgn1 activity in embryonic stem cells. We show that Msgn1 is a major transcriptional activator of a Notch signalling program and synergizes with Notch to trigger clock gene expression. Msgn1 also indirectly regulates cyclic genes in the Fgf and Wnt pathways. Thus, Msgn1 is a central component of a transcriptional cascade that translates a spatial Wnt3a gradient into a temporal pattern of clock gene expression.
Project description:The vertebral column is a conserved anatomical structure that defines the vertebrate phylum. The periodic or segmental pattern of the vertebral column is established early in development when the vertebral precursors, the somites, are rhythmically produced from presomitic mesoderm (PSM). This rhythmic activity is controlled by a segmentation clock that is associated with the periodic transcription of cyclic genes in the PSM. Comparison of the mouse, chicken and zebrafish PSM oscillatory transcriptomes revealed networks of 40 to 100 cyclic genes mostly involved in Notch, Wnt and FGF signaling pathways. However, despite this conserved signaling oscillation, the identity of individual cyclic genes mostly differed between the three species, indicating a surprising evolutionary plasticity of the segmentation networks.
Project description:4 microarray time series was generated to identify cyclic genes of the segmentation clock in the mouse (2 time series), the chicken and the zebrafish. The right posterior half presomitic mesoderms (PSM) from 20 mouse embryos, 18 chicken embryos and 21 zebrafish embryos were dissected while the contralateral side of the embryo containing the left PSM was immediately fixed to be analyzed by in situ hybridization using a Lfng (fot mosue and chicken) or hes7 (zebrafish) probe to order the samples along the segmentation clock oscillation cycle. Probes were produced from RNA extracted from each of the dissected posterior half PSMs using a two-step amplification protocol and were hybridized to Affymetrix GeneChip MOE430A, MOE430 2.0, Affymetrix GeneChip chicken genome array, or Affymetrix GeneChip zebrafish array.
Project description:Vertebrate segmentation is controlled by the segmentation clock, a molecular oscillator that regulates gene expression and cycles rapidly. The expression of many genes oscillates during segmentation, including hairy/Enhancer of split-related (her or Hes) genes, which encode transcriptional repressors that auto-inhibit their own expression, and deltaC (dlc), which encodes a Notch ligand. We previously identified the tortuga (tor) locus in a zebrafish forward genetic screen for genes involved in cyclic transcript regulation and showed that cyclic transcripts accumulate post-splicing in tor mutants. Here we show that cyclic mRNA accumulation in tor mutants is due to loss of pnrc2, which encodes a proline-rich nuclear receptor co-activator implicated in mRNA decay. Using an inducible in vivo reporter system to analyze transcript stability, we find that the her1 3'UTR confers Pnrc2-dependent instability to a heterologous transcript. her1 mRNA decay is Dicer-independent and likely employs a Pnrc2-Upf1-containing mRNA decay complex. Surprisingly, despite accumulation of cyclic transcripts in pnrc2-deficient embryos, we find that cyclic protein is expressed normally. Overall, we show that Pnrc2 promotes 3'UTR-mediated decay of developmentally-regulated segmentation clock transcripts and we uncover an additional post-transcriptional regulatory layer that ensures oscillatory protein expression in the absence of cyclic mRNA decay.
Project description:In vertebrate development, the sequential and rhythmic segmentation of the body axis is regulated by a "segmentation clock". This clock is comprised of a population of coordinated oscillating cells that together produce rhythmic gene expression patterns in the embryo. Whether individual cells autonomously maintain oscillations, or whether oscillations depend on signals from neighboring cells is unknown. Using a transgenic zebrafish reporter line for the cyclic transcription factor Her1, we recorded single tailbud cells in vitro. We demonstrate that individual cells can behave as autonomous cellular oscillators. We described the observed variability in cell behavior using a theory of generic oscillators with correlated noise. Single cells have longer periods and lower precision than the tissue, highlighting the role of collective processes in the segmentation clock. Our work reveals a population of cells from the zebrafish segmentation clock that behave as self-sustained, autonomous oscillators with distinctive noisy dynamics.
Project description:Hes7, a bHLH gene essential for somitogenesis, displays cyclic expression of mRNA in the presomitic mesoderm (PSM). Here, we show that Hes7 protein is also expressed in a dynamic manner, which depends on proteasome-mediated degradation. Spatial comparison revealed that Hes7 and Lunatic fringe (Lfng) transcription occurs in the Hes7 protein-negative domains. Furthermore, Hes7 and Lfng transcription is constitutively up-regulated in the absence of Hes7 protein and down-regulated by stabilization of Hes7 protein. Thus, periodic repression by Hes7 protein is critical for the cyclic transcription of Hes7 and Lfng, and this negative feedback represents a molecular basis for the segmentation clock.
Project description:Plants and animals produce modular developmental units in a periodic fashion. In plants, lateral roots form as repeating units along the root primary axis; however, the developmental mechanism regulating this process is unknown. We found that cyclic expression pulses of a reporter gene mark the position of future lateral roots by establishing prebranch sites and that prebranch site production and root bending are periodic. Microarray and promoter-luciferase studies revealed two sets of genes oscillating in opposite phases at the root tip. Genetic studies show that some oscillating transcriptional regulators are required for periodicity in one or both developmental processes. This molecular mechanism has characteristics that resemble molecular clock-driven activities in animal species.
Project description:Somite formation in the early stage of vertebrate embryonic development is controlled by a complicated gene network named segmentation clock, which is defined by the periodic expression of genes related to the Notch, Wnt, and the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) pathways. Although in recent years some findings about crosstalk among the Notch, Wnt, and FGF pathways in somitogenesis have been reported, the investigation of their crosstalk mechanisms from a systematic point of view is still lacking. In this study, a more comprehensive mathematical model was proposed to simulate the dynamics of the Notch, Wnt, and FGF pathways in the segmentation clock. Simulations and bifurcation analyses of this model suggested that the concentration gradients of both Wnt, and FGF signals along the presomitic mesoderm (PSM) are corresponding to the whole process from start to stop of the segmentation clock. A number of highly sensitive parameters to the segmentation clock's oscillatory pattern were identified. By further bifurcation analyses for these sensitive parameters, and several complementary mechanisms in respect of the maintenance of the stable oscillation of the segmentation clock were revealed.
Project description:A set of genes in the posterior end of developing mouse embryos shows oscillatory expression, thereby regulating periodic somite segmentation. Although the mechanism for generating oscillation has extensively been clarified, what regulates the oscillation period is still unclear. We attempted to elongate the oscillation period by increasing the time to transcribe Hes7 in this research. We generated knock-in mice, in which a large intron was inserted into Hes7 3'UTR. The exogenous intron was unexpectedly not properly spliced out and the transcripts were prematurely terminated. Consequently, Hes7 mRNA lost its 3'UTR, thereby reducing the amount of Hes7 protein. Oscillation was damped in the knock-in embryos and periodic somite segmentation does not occur properly. Thus, we demonstrated that Hes7 3'UTR is essential to accumulate adequate amounts of Hes7 protein for the somite segmentation clock that orchestrates periodic somite formation.
Project description:In Drosophila, all segments form in the blastoderm where morphogen gradients spanning the entire anterior-posterior axis of the embryo provide positional information. However, in the beetle Tribolium castaneum and most other arthropods, a number of anterior segments form in the blastoderm, and the remaining segments form sequentially from a posterior growth zone during germband elongation. Recently, the cyclic nature of the pair-rule gene Tc-odd-skipped was demonstrated in the growth zone of Tribolium, indicating that a vertebrate-like segmentation clock is employed in the germband stage of its development. This suggests that two mechanisms might function in the same organism: a Drosophila-like mechanism in the blastoderm, and a vertebrate-like mechanism in the germband. Here, we show that segmentation at both blastoderm and germband stages of Tribolium is based on a segmentation clock. Specifically, we show that the Tribolium primary pair-rule gene, Tc-even-skipped (Tc-eve), is expressed in waves propagating from the posterior pole and progressively slowing until they freeze into stripes; such dynamics are a hallmark of clock-based segmentation. Phase shifts between Tc-eve transcripts and protein confirm that these waves are due to expression dynamics. Moreover, by tracking cells in live embryos and by analyzing mitotic profiles, we found that neither cell movement nor oriented cell division could explain the observed wave dynamics of Tc-eve. These results pose intriguing evolutionary questions, as Drosophila and Tribolium segment their blastoderms using the same genes but different mechanisms.