ABSTRACT: All-trans retinoic acid (RA) signals via binding to retinoic acid receptors (RARs ?, ?, and ?). RA directly influences expression of Pdx1, a transcription factor essential for pancreatic development and beta-cell (?-cell) maturation. In this study we follow the differentiation of cultured wild-type (WT) vs. RAR? knockout (KO) embryonic stem (ES) cells into pancreatic islet cells. We found that RAR? KO ES cells show greatly reduced expression of some important endocrine markers of differentiated islet cells, such as glucagon, islet amyloid polypeptide (Iapp), and insulin 1 (Ins1) relative to WT. We conclude that RAR? activity is essential for proper differentiation of ES cells to pancreatic endocrine cells.
Project description:We have utilized retinoic acid receptor ? (gamma) knockout (RAR?(-/-)) embryonic stem (ES) cells as a model system to analyze RAR? mediated transcriptional regulation of stem cell differentiation. Most of the transcripts regulated by all-trans retinoic acid (RA) in ES cells are dependent upon functional RAR? signaling. Notably, many of these RA-RAR? target genes are implicated in retinoid uptake and metabolism. For instance, Lrat (lecithin:retinol acyltransferase), Stra6 (stimulated by retinoic acid 6), Crabp2 (cellular retinoic acid binding protein 2), and Cyp26a1 (cytochrome p450 26a1) transcripts are induced in wild type (WT), but not in RAR?(-/-) cells. Transcripts for the transcription factors Pbx1 (pre-B cell leukemia homeobox-1), Wt1 (Wilm's tumor gene-1), and Meis1 (myeloid ecotropic viral integration site-1) increase upon RA treatment of WT, but not RAR?(-/-) cells. In contrast, Stra8, Dleu7, Leftb, Pitx2, and Cdx1 mRNAs are induced by RA even in the absence of RAR?. Mapping of the epigenetic signature of Meis1 revealed that RA induces a rapid increase in the H3K9/K14ac epigenetic mark at the proximal promoter and at two sites downstream of the transcription start site in WT, but not in RAR?(-/-) cells. Thus, RA-associated increases in H3K9/K14ac epigenetic marks require RAR? and are associated with increased Meis1 transcript levels, whereas H3K4me3 is present at the Meis1 proximal promoter even in the absence of RAR?. In contrast, at the Lrat proximal promoter primarily the H3K4me3 mark, and not the H3K9/K14ac mark, increases in response to RA, independently of the presence of RAR?. Our data show major epigenetic changes associated with addition of the RAR? agonist RA in ES cells.
Project description:The proto-oncogene c-jun, a major component of transcription factor AP-1, is expressed at very low levels in undifferentiated embryonal carcinoma (EC) end embryonic stem (ES) cells. Retinoic acid (RA) induced differentiation causes a strong increase in the levels of c-jun mRNA. In this paper we report the cloning and characterization of the mouse c-jun promoter. Our results show that RA treatment causes a strong enhancement in c-jun promoter activity, an effect probably mediated by the RA-receptor beta (RAR beta). Sequences located between -329 and -293 are responsible for the observed RA effect, and bind at least five different protein complexes, of which three are decreased upon RA treatment. These protein binding sites do not resemble RA-responsive elements (RARE's) found in the promoters of retinoic acid receptor beta (RAR beta) and laminin B1. Furthermore, we could not detect a direct interaction of RAR alpha and RAR beta to these sequences, indicating that RA-induced c-jun expression is an indirect effect of RAR action.
Project description:CCR9 and ?4?7 are the major trafficking receptors for lymphocyte migration to the gut, and their expression is induced during lymphocyte activation under the influence of retinoic acid (RA). We report here that BATF (basic leucine zipper transcription factor, ATF-like), an AP-1 protein family factor, is required for optimal expression of CCR9 and ?4?7 by T helper cells. BATF-deficient (knockout [KO]) mice had reduced numbers of effector T and regulatory T cells in the intestine. The intestinal T cells in BATF KO mice expressed CCR9 and ?4?7 at abnormally low levels compared with their wild-type (WT) counterparts, and BATF KO CD4(+) T cells failed to up-regulate the expression of CCR9 and ?4?7 to WT levels in response to RA. Defective binding of RAR? and histone acetylation at the regulatory regions of the CCR9 and Itg-?4 genes were observed in BATF KO T cells. As a result, BATF KO effector and FoxP3(+) T cells failed to populate the intestine, and neither population functioned normally in the induction and regulation of colitis. Our results establish BATF as a cellular factor required for normal expression of CCR9 and ?4?7 and for the homeostasis and effector functions of T cell populations in the intestine.
Project description:Signalling molecules and their cognate receptors are central components of the Metazoa endocrine system. Defining their presence or absence in extant animal lineages is critical to accurately devise evolutionary patterns, physiological shifts and the impact of endocrine disrupting chemicals. Here, we address the evolution of retinoic acid (RA) signalling in the Priapulida worm, Priapulus caudatus Lamarck, 1816, an Ecdysozoa. RA signalling has been shown to be central to chordate endocrine homeostasis, participating in multiple developmental and physiological processes. Priapulids, with their slow rate of molecular evolution and phylogenetic position, represent a key taxon to investigate the early phases of Ecdysozoa evolution. By exploring a draft genome assembly, we show, by means of phylogenetics and functional assays, that an orthologue of the nuclear receptor retinoic acid receptor (RAR) subfamily, a central mediator of RA signalling, is present in Ecdysozoa, contrary to previous perception. We further demonstrate that the Priapulida RAR displays low-affinity for retinoids (similar to annelids), and is not responsive to common endocrine disruptors acting via RAR. Our findings provide a timeline for RA signalling evolution in the Bilateria and give support to the hypothesis that the increase in RA affinity towards RAR is a late acquisition in the evolution of the Metazoa.
Project description:All-trans retinoic acid (RA) induces transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta)-dependent autocrine growth of mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs). We have used chromatin immunoprecipitation to map 354 RA receptor (RAR) binding loci in MEFs, most of which were similarly occupied by the RAR alpha and RAR gamma receptors. Only a subset of the genes associated with these loci are regulated by RA, among which are several critical components of the TGF-beta pathway. We also show RAR binding to a novel series of target genes involved in cell cycle regulation, transformation, and metastasis, suggesting new pathways by which RA may regulate proliferation and cancer. Few of the RAR binding loci contained consensus direct-repeat (DR)-type elements. The majority comprised either degenerate DRs or no identifiable DRs but anomalously spaced half sites. Furthermore, we identify 462 RAR target loci in embryonic stem (ES) cells and show that their occupancy is cell type specific. Our results also show that differences in the chromatin landscape regulate the accessibility of a subset of more than 700 identified loci to RARs, thus modulating the repertoire of target genes that can be regulated and the biological effects of RA.
Project description:All-trans-retinoic acid (RA), a potent inducer of cellular differentiation, functions as a ligand for retinoic acid receptors (RAR?, ?, and ?). RARs are activated by ligand binding, which induces transcription of direct genomic targets. However, whether embryonic stem cells respond to RA through routes that do not involve RARs is unknown. Here, we used CRISPR technology to introduce biallelic frameshift mutations in RAR?, RAR?, and RAR?, thereby abrogating all RAR functions in murine embryonic stem cells. We then evaluated RA-responsiveness of the RAR-null cells using RNA-Seq transcriptome analysis. We found that the RAR-null cells display no changes in transcripts in response to RA, demonstrating that the RARs are essential for the regulation of all transcripts in murine embryonic stem cells in response to RA. Our key finding, that in embryonic stem cells the transcriptional effects of RA all depend on RARs, addresses a long-standing topic of discussion in the field of retinoic acid signaling.
Project description:The enteric nervous system (ENS) forms from the neural crest-derived precursors that colonize the bowel before differentiating into a network of neurons and glia that control intestinal function. Retinoids are essential for normal ENS development, but the role of retinoic acid (RA) metabolism in development remains incompletely understood. Because RA is produced locally in the tissues where it acts by stimulating RAR and RXR receptors, RA signaling during development is absolutely dependent on the rate of RA synthesis and degradation. RA is produced by three different enzymes called retinaldehyde dehydrogenases (RALDH1, RALDH2 and RALDH3) that are all expressed in the developing bowel. To determine the relative importance of these enzymes for ENS development, we analyzed whole mount preparations of adult (8-12-week old) myenteric and submucosal plexus stained with NADPH diaphorase (neurons and neurites), anti-TuJ1 (neurons and neurites), anti-HuC/HuD (neurons), and anti-S100? (glia) in an allelic series of mice with mutations in Raldh1, Raldh2, and Raldh3. We found that Raldh1-/-, Raldh2+/-, Raldh3+/- (R1(KO)R2(Het)R3(Het)) mutant mice had a reduced colon myenteric neuron density, reduced colon myenteric neuron to glia ratio, reduced colon submucosal neuron density, and increased colon myenteric fibers per neuron when compared to the wild type (WT; Raldh1WT, Raldh2WT, Raldh3WT) mice. These defects are unlikely to be due to defective ENS precursor migration since R1(KO)R2(Het)R3(KO) mice had increased enteric neuron progenitor migration into the distal colon compared to WT during development. RALDH mutant mice also have reduced contractility in the colon compared to WT mice. These data suggest that RALDH1, RALDH2 and RALDH3 each contribute to ENS development and function.
Project description:Among caspase family members, Caspase-8 is unique, with associated critical activities to induce and suppress death receptor-mediated apoptosis and necroptosis, respectively. Caspase-8 inhibits necroptosis by suppressing the function of receptor-interacting protein kinase 1 (RIPK1 or RIP1) and RIPK3 to activate mixed lineage kinase domain-like (MLKL). Disruption of Caspase-8 expression causes embryonic lethality in mice, which is rescued by depletion of either Ripk3 or Mlkl, indicating that the embryonic lethality is caused by activation of necroptosis. Here, we show that knockdown of Caspase-8 expression in embryoid bodies derived from ES cells markedly enhances retinoic acid (RA)-induced cell differentiation and necroptosis, both of which are dependent on Ripk1 and Ripk3; however, the enhancement of RA-induced cell differentiation is independent of Mlkl and necrosome formation. RA treatment obviously enhanced the expression of RA-specific target genes having the retinoic acid response element (RARE) in their promoter regions to induce cell differentiation, and induced marked expression of RIPK1, RIPK3, and MLKL to stimulate necroptosis. Caspase-8 knockdown induced RIPK1 and RIPK3 to translocate into the nucleus and to form a complex with RA receptor (RAR), and RAR interacting with RIPK1 and RIPK3 showed much stronger binding activity to RARE than RAR without RIPK1 or RIPK3. In Caspase-8-deficient as well as Caspase-8- and Mlkl-deficient mouse embryos, the expression of RA-specific target genes was obviously enhanced. Thus, Caspase-8, RIPK1, and RIPK3 regulate RA-induced cell differentiation and necroptosis both in vitro and in vivo.
Project description:Retinoids, especially all-trans retinoic acid (RA), have been shown to inhibit the differentiation of preadipose cells. In the present study, the expression of retinoic acid receptors (RAR alpha, beta and gamma) and retinoid X receptors (RXR alpha, beta and gamma) was examined by Northern blot analysis in rat adipose tissue and mouse 3T3-L1 adipose cells. The adipose tissue and/or 3T3-L1 cells expressed mRNAs for a number of nuclear retinoid receptors, including RAR alpha, beta and gamma, and RXR alpha, beta and gamma. RAR alpha, RAR gamma, RXR alpha and RXR beta mRNAs were abundant in adipose tissue and 3T3-L1 cells. RXR gamma mRNA was detected in adipose tissue but not in 3T3-L1 cells. Treatment of 3T3-L1 cells with 1 microM RA led to a 4-5-fold increase in the RAR gamma mRNA level, but only a trace amount of RAR beta mRNA was detected. RAR gamma mRNA expression was rapidly (within 2 h) induced by physiological concentrations of RA in a dose-dependent manner. The response of RAR gamma mRNA expression to RA was reversible; rapid disappearance of RAR gamma mRNA occurred on RA removal. In addition, the induction of RAR gamma expression did not require de novo protein synthesis, but was completely abolished by an inhibitor of RNA synthesis. Using RAR gamma 1 and gamma 2 isoform-specific probes, the patterns of RAR gamma 1 and gamma 2 mRNA expression in 3T3-L1 cells in the presence and absence of RA were examined. RAR gamma 1 mRNA was detected in 3T3-L1 cells but was not affected by RA treatment; however, RAR gamma 2 mRNA was strongly induced by RA.
Project description:Maintenance of glucose homeostasis depends on adequate amount and precise pattern of insulin secretion, which is determined by both beta-cell secretory processes and well-developed microvascular network within endocrine pancreas. The development of highly organized microvasculature and high degrees of capillary fenestrations in endocrine pancreas is greatly dependent on vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) from islet cells. However, it is unclear how VEGF-A production is regulated in endocrine pancreas. To understand whether signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)-3 is involved in VEGF-A regulation and subsequent islet and microvascular network development, we generated a mouse line carrying pancreas-specific deletion of STAT3 (p-KO) and performed physiological analyses both in vivo and using isolated islets, including glucose and insulin tolerance tests, and insulin secretion measurements. We also studied microvascular network and islet development by using immunohistochemical methods. The p-KO mice exhibited glucose intolerance and impaired insulin secretion in vivo but normal insulin secretion in isolated islets. Microvascular density in the pancreas was reduced in p-KO mice, along with decreased expression of VEGF-A, but not other vasotropic factors in islets in the absence of pancreatic STAT3 signaling. Together, our study suggests that pancreatic STAT3 signaling is required for the normal development and maintenance of endocrine pancreas and islet microvascular network, possibly through its regulation of VEGF-A.