The thyroid hormone-induced tail resorption program during Xenopus laevis metamorphosis.
ABSTRACT: Genes that are up- and down-regulated by thyroid hormone in the tail resorption program of Xenopus laevis have been isolated by a gene expression screen, sequenced, and identified in the GenBank data base. The entire program is estimated to consist of fewer than 35 up-regulated and fewer than 10 down-regulated genes; 17 and 4 of them, respectively, have been isolated and characterized. Up-regulated genes whose function can be predicted on the basis of their sequence include four transcription factors (including one of the thyroid hormone receptors), an extracellular matrix component (fibronectin) and membrane receptor (integrin), four proteinases, a deiodinase that degrades thyroid hormone, and a protein that binds the hypothalamic corticotropin-releasing factor, which has been implicated in controlling thyroid hormone synthesis in Xenopus tadpoles. All four down-regulated genes encode extracellular proteins that are expressed in tadpole epidermis. This survey of the program provides insights into the biology of metamorphosis.
Project description:Insulin-producing beta-cells are present as single cells or in small clusters distributed throughout the pancreas of the Xenopus laevis tadpole. During metamorphic climax when the exocrine pancreas dedifferentiates to progenitor cells, the beta-cells undergo two changes. Insulin mRNA is down regulated at the beginning of metamorphic climax (NF62) and reexpressed again near the end of climax. Secondly, the beta-cells aggregate to form islets. During climax the increase in insulin cluster size is not caused by cell proliferation or by acinar-to-beta-cell transdifferentiation, but rather is due to the aggregation of pre-existing beta-cells. The total number of beta-cells does not change during the 8 days of climax. Thyroid hormone (TH) induction of premetamorphic tadpoles causes an increase in islet size while prolonged treatment of tadpoles with the goitrogen methimazole inhibits this increase. Expression of a dominant negative form of the thyroid hormone receptor (TRDN) driven by the elastase promoter not only protects the exocrine pancreas of a transgenic tadpole from TH-induced dedifferentiation but also prevents aggregation of beta-cells at climax. These transgenic tadpoles do however undergo normal loss and resynthesis of insulin mRNA at the same stage as controls. In contrast transgenic tadpoles with the same TRDN transgene driven by an insulin promoter do not undergo down regulation of insulin mRNA, but do aggregate beta-cells to form islets like controls. These results demonstrate that TH controls the remodeling of beta-cells through cell-cell interaction with dedifferentiating acinar cells and a cell autonomous program that temporarily shuts off the insulin gene.
Project description:Thyroid hormone (T3) is essential for normal development and organ function throughout vertebrates. Its effects are mainly mediated through transcriptional regulation by T3 receptor (TR). The identification and characterization of the immediate early, direct target genes are thus of critical importance in understanding the molecular pathways induced by T3. Unfortunately, this has been hampered by the difficulty to study gene regulation by T3 in uterus-enclosed mammalian embryos. Here we used Xenopus metamorphosis as a model for vertebrate postembryonic development to identify direct T3 response genes in vivo. We took advantage of the ability to easily induce metamorphosis with physiological levels of T3 and to carry out microarray analysis in Xenopus laevis and genome-wide sequence analysis in Xenopus tropicalis. This allowed us to identify 188 up-regulated and 249 down-regulated genes by T3 in the absence of new protein synthesis in whole animals. We further provide evidence to show that these genes contain functional TREs that are bound by TR in tadpoles and that their promoters are regulated by TR in vivo. More importantly, gene ontology analysis showed that the direct up-regulated genes are enriched in categories important for transcriptional regulation and protein degradation-dependent signaling processes but not DNA replication. Our findings thus revealed the existence of interesting pathways induced by T3 at the earliest step of metamorphosis.
Project description:The hedgehog family of proteins have been implicated as important signaling molecules in establishing cell positional information and tissue patterning. Here we present the cloning and characterization of a hedgehog homologue from Xenopus laevis similar to the sonic class of vertebrate hedgehog genes. We isolated Xenopus hedgehog (Xhh) from a subtractive hybridization screen designed to identify genes induced by thyroid hormone during metamorphosis of the X.laevis gastrointestinal tract. In the intestine, Xhh mRNA expression was up-regulated at the climax of metamorphosis (stage 62) when intestinal epithelium underwent morphogenesis. Treatment of pre-metamorphic tadpoles with exogenous thyroid hormone (TH) resulted in a similar pattern of Xhh induction. Furthermore, TH induction was resistant to inhibitors of protein synthesis suggesting that Xhh is a direct thyroid hormone response gene. The expression and TH regulation of Xhh was not limited to the intestine, but was also observed in the limb and a mixture of pancreas and stomach. Throughout development, Xhh mRNA was present at varying levels with the earliest expression being detected at neurula stage. The highest levels of Xhh were observed between stages 33 and 40 shortly before tadpole feeding begins. Whole mount in situ hybridization analysis of Xhh expression in pre-hatching, stage 32 tadpoles demonstrated staining in the notochord and floor plate similar to that observed for other vertebrate hedgehog genes. Together, these data suggest a putative role for Xhh in organ development during both amphibian embryogenesis and metamorphosis.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Most work in endocrinology focus on the action of a single hormone, and very little on the cross-talks between two hormones. Here we characterize the nature of interactions between thyroid hormone and glucocorticoid signaling during <i>Xenopus tropicalis</i> metamorphosis.<h4>Methods</h4>We used functional genomics to derive genome wide profiles of methylated DNA and measured changes of gene expression after hormonal treatments of a highly responsive tissue, tailfin. Clustering classified the data into four types of biological responses, and biological networks were modeled by system biology.<h4>Results</h4>We found that gene expression is mostly regulated by either T<sub>3</sub> or CORT, or their additive effect when they both regulate the same genes. A small but non-negligible fraction of genes (12%) displayed non-trivial regulations indicative of complex interactions between the signaling pathways. Strikingly, DNA methylation changes display the opposite and are dominated by cross-talks.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Cross-talks between thyroid hormones and glucocorticoids are more complex than initially envisioned and are not limited to the simple addition of their individual effects, a statement that can be summarized with the pseudo-equation: TH <b>∙</b> GC > TH + GC. DNA methylation changes are highly dynamic and buffered from genome expression.
Project description:The cDNAs encoding Xenopus laevis prolactin (PRL) and the alpha and beta subunits of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH alpha and TSH beta, respectively) have been cloned from a pituitary library. Results of developmental RNA blot analysis contradict the long-held biological role for PRL as a juvenilizing hormone in amphibia. The pituitary gland of a premetamorphic tadpole expresses PRL mRNA at very low levels. The abundance of PRL mRNA increases late in metamorphosis as a response to thyroid hormone (TH), suggesting that PRL is more likely to have a function in the frog than in the tadpole. TSH alpha and -beta mRNA levels increase through prometamorphosis; this rise does not appear to be regulated directly by TH. At climax, both TH and TSH mRNA levels drop. The sequential morphological changes that characterize prometamorphosis depend upon the gradual increase of endogenous TH, which peaks at climax. This increase in TH in turn depends upon the lack of a traditional thyroid-pituitary negative-feedback loop throughout prometamorphosis.
Project description:Thyroid hormone (T3) is essential for vertebrate development, especially during the so-called postembryonic development, a period around birth in mammals when plasma T3 level peaks and many organs mature into their adult form. Compared to embryogenesis, postembryonic development is poorly studied in mammals largely because of the difficulty to manipulate the uterus-enclosed embryos and neonates. Amphibian metamorphosis is independent of maternal influence and can be easily manipulated for molecular and genetic studies, making it a valuable model to study postembryonic development in vertebrates. Studies on amphibian metamorphosis have been largely focused on the two highly related species Xenopus laevis and Xenopus tropicalis. However, adult X. laevis and X. tropicalis animals remain aquatic. This makes important to study metamorphosis in a species in which postmetamorphic frogs live on land. In this regard, the anuran Microhyla fissipes represents an alternative model for developmental and genetic studies. Here we have made use of the advances in sequencing technologies to investigate the gene expression profiles underlying the tail resorption program during metamorphosis in M. fissipes. We first used single molecule real-time sequencing to obtain 67, 939 expressed transcripts in M. fissipes. We next identified 4,555 differentially expressed transcripts during tail resorption by using Illumina sequencing on RNA samples from tails at different metamorphic stages. Bioinformatics analyses revealed that 11 up-regulated KEGG (Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes) pathways and 88 Gene Ontology (GO) terms as well as 21 down-regulated KEGG pathways and 499 GO terms were associated with tail resorption. Our findings suggest that tail resorption in M. fissipes and X. laevis shares many programs. Future investigations on function and regulation of these genes and pathways should help to reveal the mechanisms governing amphibian tail resorption and adaptive evolution from aquatic to terrestrial life. Furthermore, analysis of the M. fissipes model, especially, on the changes in other organs associated with the transition from aquatic to terrestrial living, should help to reveal important mechanistic insights governing mammalian postembryonic developments.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Thyroid hormone (T3) is important for adult organ function and vertebrate development. Amphibian metamorphosis is totally dependent on T3 and offers a unique opportunity to study how T3 controls postembryonic development in vertebrates. Earlier studies have demonstrated that TR mediates the metamorphic effects of T3 in Xenopus laevis. Liganded TR recruits histone modifying coactivator complexes to target genes during metamorphosis. This leads to nucleosomal removal and histone modifications, including methylation of histone H3 lysine (K) 79, in the promoter regions, and the activation of T3-inducible genes. RESULTS:We show that Dot1L, the only histone methyltransferase capable of methylating H3K79, is directly regulated by TR via binding to a T3 response element in the promoter region during metamorphosis in Xenopus tropicalis, a highly related species of Xenopus laevis. We further show that Dot1L expression in both the intestine and tail correlates with the transformation of the organs. CONCLUSIONS:Our findings suggest that TR activates Dot1L, which in turn participates in metamorphosis through a positive feedback to enhance H3K79 methylation and gene activation by liganded TR.
Project description:During premetamorphic stages, Xenopus laevis tadpoles expressing either a dominant-negative thyroid hormone (TH) receptor or a type-III iodothyronine deiodinase transgene in the nervous system have reduced TH-induced proliferation in the spinal cord and produce fewer hindlimb-innervating motorneurons. During prometamorphic stages, innervation of the hindlimbs is reduced, and few functional neuromuscular connections are formed. By metamorphic climax, limb movement is impaired, ranging from uncoordinated leg swimming to complete quadriplegia. This phenotype is due to transgene action in the tadpole spinal cord. The requirement of TH for neurogenesis during premetamorphosis is the earliest TH-regulated process reported to date in the sequence of metamorphic changes in anurans. The muscle formed during limb growth was previously shown to be a direct target of TH control. Here, we show that the same is true of the development of spinal cord cells that innervate the limbs.
Project description:Tail resorption during amphibian metamorphosis has been thought to be controlled mainly by a cell-autonomous mechanism of programmed cell death triggered by thyroid hormone. However, we have proposed a role for the immune response in metamorphosis, based on the finding that syngeneic grafts of tadpole tail skin into adult Xenopus animals are rejected by T cells. To test this, we identified two tail antigen genes called ouro1 and ouro2 that encode keratin-related proteins. Recombinant Ouro1 and Ouro2 proteins generated proliferative responses in vitro in T cells isolated from naive adult Xenopus animals. These genes were expressed specifically in the tail skin at the climax of metamorphosis. Overexpression of ouro1 and ouro2 induced T-cell accumulation and precocious tail degeneration after full differentiation of adult-type T cells when overexpressed in the tail region. When the expression of ouro1 and ouro2 were knocked down, tail skin tissue remained even after metamorphosis was complete. Our findings indicate that Ouro proteins participate in the process of tail regression as immune antigens and highlight the possibility that the acquired immune system contributes not only to self-defense but also to remodeling processes in vertebrate morphogenesis.
Project description:Thyroid hormone (T3) plays several key roles in development of the nervous system in vertebrates, controlling diverse processes such as neurogenesis, cell migration, apoptosis, differentiation, and maturation. In anuran amphibians, the hormone exerts its actions on the tadpole brain during metamorphosis, a developmental period dependent on T3. Thyroid hormone regulates gene transcription by binding to two nuclear receptors, TR? and TR?. Our previous findings using pharmacological and other approaches supported that TR? plays a pivotal role in mediating T3 actions on neural cell proliferation in Xenopus tadpole brain. Here we used Xenopus tropicalis (X. tropicalis) tadpoles with an inactivating mutation in the gene that encodes TR? to investigate roles for TR? in mitosis and gene regulation in tadpole brain. Gross morphological analysis showed that mutant tadpoles had proportionally smaller brains, corrected for body size, compared with wildtype, both during prometamorphosis and at the completion of metamorphosis. This was reflected in a large reduction in phosphorylated histone 3 (pH3; a mitosis marker) immunoreactive (ir) nuclei in prometamorphic tadpole brain, when T3-dependent cell proliferation is maximal. Treatment of wild type premetamorphic tadpoles with T3 for 48 h induced gross morphological changes in the brain, and strongly increased pH3-ir, but had no effect in mutant tadpoles. Thyroid hormone induction of the direct TR target genes thrb, klf9, and thibz was dysregulated in mutant tadpoles. Analysis of gene expression by RNA sequencing in the brain of premetamorphic tadpoles treated with or without T3 for 16 h showed that the TR? accounts for 95% of the gene regulation responses to T3.