The promoter of the Xwnt-5C gene contains octamer and AP-2 motifs functional in Xenopus embryos.
ABSTRACT: The Xwnt-5C gene is expressed in Xenopus embryos from the early gastrula stage onwards. The transcription of Xwnt-5C is regulated differentially with respect to transcript size, timing and localization. To gain insight into the generation of the Xwnt-5C expression pattern, we started to analyze the transcriptional regulation of this gene. We isolated Xwnt-5C genomic DNA sequences. By microinjection of chimaeric reporter constructs into Xenopus embryos we demonstrate that the upstream region contains a promoter functional in vivo. Of the several putative binding sites for trans-acting factors, present in a minimal promoter fragment, some have been studied in more detail. Mutations in an octamer motif and in an AP-2 consensus sequence interfere with the activity of the Xwnt-5C minimal promoter. In vitro binding assays with extracts from gastrula stage Xenopus embryos show that the octamer motif of the Xwnt-5C promoter can bind several Octamer binding factors, one of which is Oct1.
Project description:Wnts are secreted signaling factors which influence cell fate and cell behavior in developing embryos. Overexpression in Xenopus laevis embryos of a Xenopus Wnt, Xwnt-8, leads to a duplication of the embryonic axis. In embryos ventralized by UV irradiation, Xwnt-8 restores expression of the putative transcription factor goosecoid, and rescues normal axis formation. In contrast, overexpression of Xwnt-5A in normal embryos generates defects in dorsoanterior structures, without inducing goosecoid or a secondary axis. To determine whether Xwnt-4 and Xwnt-11 fall into one of these two previously described classes of activity, synthetic mRNAs were introduced into animal caps, normal embryos, and UV-treated embryos. The results indicate that Xwnt-4, Xwnt-5A, and Xwnt-11 are members of a single functional class with activities that are indistinguishable in these assays. To investigate whether distinct regions of Xwnt-8 and Xwnt-5A were sufficient for eliciting the observed effects of overexpression, we generated a series of chimeric Xwnts. RNAs encoding the chimeras were injected into normal and UV-irradiated Xenopus embryos. Analysis of the embryonic phenotypes and goosecoid levels reveals that chimeras composed of carboxy-terminal regions of Xwnt-8 and amino-terminal regions of Xwnt-5A are indistinguishable from the activities of native Xwnt-8 and that are the reciprocal chimeras elicit effects indistinguishable from overexpression of native Xwnt-5A. We conclude that the carboxy-terminal halves of these Xwnts are candidate domains for specifying responses to Xwnt signals.
Project description:Frzb-1 is a secreted protein containing a domain similar to the putative Wnt-binding region of the frizzled family of transmembrane receptors. Frzb-1 is widely expressed in adult mammalian tissues. In the Xenopus gastrula, it is expressed and regulated as a typical Spemann organizer component. Injection of frzb-1 mRNA blocks expression of XMyoD mRNA and leads to embryos with enlarged heads and shortened trunks. Frzb-1 antagonizes the effects of Xwnt-8 ectopic expression in a non-cell-autonomous manner. Cultured cells transfected with a membrane-tethered form of Wnt-1 bind epitope-tagged Frzb-1 in the 10(-10) M range. The results strengthen the view that the Spemann organizer is a source of secreted inhibitory factors.
Project description:The octamer motif is a common cis-acting regulatory element that functions in the transcriptional control regions of diverse genes and in viral origins of replication. The ability of a consensus octamer motif to stimulate transcription of a histone H2B promoter in frog oocytes suggests that oocytes contain a transcriptionally active octamer-binding protein(s). We show here that frog oocytes and developing embryos contain multiple octamer-binding proteins that are expressed in a sequential manner during early development. Sequences encoding three novel octamer binding-proteins were isolated from Xenopus cDNA libraries by virtue of their homology with the DNA binding (POU) domain of Oct-1. The predicted POU domains of these proteins were most highly related to mammalian Oct-3 (also termed Oct-4), a germ line-specific gene required for mouse early development. Transcripts from these amphibian POU-domain genes were most abundant during early embryogenesis and absent from most adult somatic tissues. One of the genes, termed Oct-60, was primarily expressed as a maternal transcript localized in the animal hemisphere in mature oocytes. The protein encoded by this gene was present in oocytes and early embryos until the gastrula stage of development. Transcripts from a second POU-domain gene, Oct-25, were present at low levels in oocytes and early embryos and were dramatically upregulated during early gastrulation. In contrast to the Oct-60 mRNA, translation of Oct-25 mRNA appeared to be developmentally regulated, since the corresponding protein was detected in embryos during gastrulation but not in oocytes or rapidly cleaving embryos. Transcripts from the third POU protein gene, Oct-91, were induced after the midblastula transition and reached their highest levels of accumulation during late gastrulation. The expression of all three genes decreased during late gastrulation and early neurulation. By analogy with other members of the POU-domain gene family, the products of these genes may play critical roles in the determination of cell fate and the regulation of cell proliferation.
Project description:TIE1, an endothelial-cell-specific tyrosine kinase receptor, is required for the survival and growth of microvascular endothelial cells during the capillary sprouting phase of vascular development. To investigate the molecular mechanisms that regulate the expression of TIE1 in the endothelium, we analysed transgenic mouse embryos carrying wild-type or mutant TIE1 promoter/LacZ constructs. Our data indicate that an upstream DNA octamer element (5'-ATGCAAAT-3') is required for the in vivo expression of TIE1 in embryonic endothelial cells. Transgenic embryos carrying the wild-type TIE1 promoter (-466 to +78 bp) fused to LacZ and spanning the octamer element demonstrate endothelial-cell-specific expression of the reporter transgene. Point mutations introduced within the octamer element result in a significant decrease of endothelial LacZ expression, suggesting that the octamer site functions as a positive regulator for TIE1 gene expression in endothelial cells. DNA-protein binding studies show that the octamer element exhibits an endothelial-cell-specific pattern of binding via interaction with endothelial-cell-restricted factor(s). Our findings suggest an important role for the octamer element in regulating the expression of the TIE1 receptor in the embryonic endothelium and suggest a common mechanism for the regulation of the angiogenic and cell-specific TIE1 and TIE2 genes during vascular development.
Project description:The message for the zinc finger gene Rex-1 (Zfp-42) is expressed in undifferentiated murine F9 teratocarcinoma cells and embryonic stem cells. Expression of Rex-1 is reduced at the transcriptional level when F9 cells are induced by the addition of retinoic acid (RA) to differentiate. We have isolated genomic DNA for the Rex-1 gene (Zfp-42), characterized the gene's structure, and mapped the gene to mouse chromosome 8. Promoter elements contributing to the regulation of the Rex-1 promoter in F9 cells have been identified. A region required for Rex-1 promoter activity in F9 stem cells contains an octamer motif (ATTTGCAT) which is a binding site for octamer transcription factor members of the POU domain family of DNA-binding proteins. Rex-1 reporter plasmids including this octamer site also exhibited reduced expression in F9 cells treated with RA. Thus, the octamer motif is a regulatory element required for the activity of the Rex-1 promoter in F9 stem cells, and this motif contributes to the negative regulation by RA of the transcription of the Rex-1 gene. As an initial confirmation of the in vivo relevance of the isolated fragment, a larger Rex-1 promoter fragment, also containing the octamer site, was able to promote expression of the bacterial lacZ gene in mouse embryos at the morula stage.
Project description:The octamer sequence ATGCAAAT is highly conserved in the promoter of immunoglobulin heavy and light chain genes and is one of the sequence motifs involved in the control of transcription of these genes. The promoter region of an human immunoglobulin heavy chain variable gene, the sole member of the VH6 gene family, was found to differ from other VH gene promoters: it contains neither the conserved octamer motif nor a heptamer sequence, and generally bears little resemblance to other VH gene transcriptional control regions. An imperfect octamer sequence with a single nucleotide substitution (AgGCAAAT) is located 108 bp upstream of the ATG translation start site, and 81 bp upstream of the transcription initiation site. We sought to determine which sequence elements within the VH6 promoter were responsible for transcription initiation by creating progressive deletions of a 1 kb fragment from this region and testing their ability to function as promoter elements in B and non-B cells (HeLa). The minimum fragment required for full promoter function was 110 bp, but a fragment with only 65 bp retained 30-50% activity in B cells. Similar levels of transcription were seen when the -146 bp promoter containing two point mutations in the imperfect octamer was tested. Mutation of a possible pyrimidine box sequence located downstream of the TATA box was shown to have only a minor effect (10-30%) on transcription when three nucleotides were changed. Surprisingly, CAT activity was not B cell-specific, as all constructs had virtually the same activity in several B cell lines and in HeLa cells. Removal of the TATA box led to a 50% reduction in CAT activity, and the region upstream of the TATA box functioned as a promoter in both orientations. The transcriptional activity of the VH6 promoter was virtually enhancer independent: only a minor increase was observed when the immunoglobulin or SV40 enhancer was added to the promoter construct. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays of transcription factor binding to the region around the imperfect octamer indicated that binding was weak when nuclear extracts from either B cells or HeLa cells were used. The amount of complex shifted was increased by mutating the imperfect octamer to a perfect one. Chimeras produced between the VH6 promoter and a B cell-specific promoter from a member of the human VH2 gene family demonstrated that the lack of tissue specificity was due to the absence of a repressor of non-B cell transcription in the VH6 promoter. These results indicate that the VH6 promoter is relatively simple, requiring little more than the TATA element and the imperfect octamer, and transcription from this promoter lacks B cell specificity and is not dependent on the enhancer element.
Project description:Animal embryos have the remarkable property of self-organization. Over 125 years ago, Hans Driesch separated the two blastomeres of sea urchin embryos and obtained twins, in what was the foundation of experimental embryology. Since then, embryonic twinning has been obtained experimentally in many animals. In a recent study, we developed bisection methods that generate identical twins reliably from Xenopus blastula embryos. In the present study, we have investigated the transcriptome of regenerating half-embryos after sagittal and dorsal-ventral (D-V) bisections. Individual embryos were operated at midblastula (stage 8) with an eyelash hair and cultured until early gastrula (stage 10.5) or late gastrula (stage 12) and the transcriptome of both halves were analyzed by RNA-seq. Since many genes are activated by wound healing in Xenopus embryos, we resorted to stringent sequence analyses and identified genes up-regulated in identical twins but not in either dorsal or ventral fragments. At early gastrula, cell division-related transcripts such as histones were elevated, whereas at late gastrula, pluripotency genes (such as sox2) and germ layer determination genes (such as eomesodermin, ripply2 and activin receptor ACVRI) were identified. Among the down-regulated transcripts, sizzled, a regulator of Chordin stability, was prominent. These findings are consistent with a model in which cell division is required to heal damage, while maintaining pluripotency to allow formation of the organizer with a displacement of 90 0 from its original site. The extensive transcriptomic data presented here provides a valuable resource for data mining of gene expression during early vertebrate development.
Project description:Xenopus laevis embryos were injected with alpha-amanitin to inhibit RNA polymerase II activity. Embryos were allowed to develop up to stage 10.5 (early gastrula, control and alpha-amanitin injected embryos) and subsequently collected for RNA isolation. The transcriptome profiles of alpha-amanitin injected and control embryos were compared.
Project description:Cnidarians surprise by the completeness of Wnt gene subfamilies (11) expressed in an overlapping pattern along the anterior-posterior axis. While the functional conservation of canonical Wnt-signaling components in cnidarian gastrulation and organizer formation is evident, a role of Nematostella Wnts in noncanonical Wnt-signaling has not been shown so far. In Xenopus, noncanonical Wnt-5a/Ror2 and Wnt-11 (PCP) signaling are distinguishable by different morphant phenotypes. They differ in PAPC regulation, cell polarization, cell protrusion formation, and the so far not reported reorientation of the microtubules. Based on these readouts, we investigated the evolutionary conservation of Wnt-11 and Wnt-5a function in rescue experiments with Nematostella orthologs and Xenopus morphants. Our results revealed that NvWnt-5 and -11 exhibited distinct noncanonical Wnt activities by disturbing convergent extension movements. However, NvWnt-5 rescued XWnt-11 and NvWnt-11 specifically XWnt-5a depleted embryos. This unexpected 'inverse' activity suggests that specific structures in Wnt ligands are important for receptor complex recognition in Wnt-signaling. Although we can only speculate on the identity of the underlying recognition motifs, it is likely that these crucial structural features have already been established in the common ancestor of cnidarians and vertebrates and were conserved throughout metazoan evolution.
Project description:We report an optimized method to purify and reconstitute histone octamer, which utilizes high expression of histones in inclusion bodies but eliminates the time consuming steps of individual histone purification. In the newly modified protocol, Xenopus laevis H2A, H2B, H3, and H4 are expressed individually into inclusion bodies of bacteria, which are subsequently mixed together and denatured in 8M guanidine hydrochloride. Histones are refolded and reconstituted into soluble octamer by dialysis against 2M NaCl, and metal-affinity purified through an N-terminal polyhistidine-tag added on the H2A. After cleavage of the polyhistidine-tag, histone octamer is further purified by size exclusion chromatography. We show that the nucleosomes reconstituted using the purified histone octamer above are fully functional. They serve as effective substrates for the histone methyltransferases DOT1L and MLL1. Small angle X-ray scattering further confirms that the reconstituted nucleosomes have correct structural integration of histone octamer and DNA as observed in the X-ray crystal structure. Our new protocol enables rapid reconstitution of histone octamer with an optimal yield. We expect this simplified approach to facilitate research using recombinant nucleosomes in vitro.