Hes7 3'UTR is required for somite segmentation function.
ABSTRACT: 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:During somitogenesis, Fgf8 maintains the predifferentiation stage of presomitic mesoderm (PSM) cells and its retraction gives a cue for somite formation. Delta/Notch initiates the expression of oscillation genes in the tail bud and subsequently contributes to somite formation in a periodic way. Whether there exists a critical factor coordinating Fgf8 and Notch signaling pathways is largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate that the loss of function of geminin gave rise to narrower somites as a result of derepressed Fgf8 gradient in the PSM and tail bud. Furthermore, in geminin morphants, the somite boundary could not form properly but the oscillation of cyclic genes was normal, displaying the blurry somitic boundary and disturbed somite polarity along the AP axis. In mechanism, these manifestations were mediated by the disrupted association of the geminin/Brg1 complex with intron 3 of mib1. The latter interaction was found to positively regulate mib1 transcription, Notch activity, and sequential somite segmentation during somitogenesis. In addition, geminin was also shown to regulate the expression of deltaD in mib1-independent way. Collectively, our data for the first time demonstrate that geminin regulates Fgf8 and Notch signaling to regulate somite segmentation during somitogenesis.
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:The mouse segmentation is established from somites, which are iteratively induced every two hours from the presomitic mesoderm (PSM) by a system known as the segmentation clock. A crucial component of the segmentation clock is the gene Hes7, which is regulated by the Notch and Fgf/Mapk pathways, but its relation to other pathways is unknown. In addition, chemical alteration of the Wnt pathway changes the segmentation clock period but the mechanism is unclear.To clarify these questions, we have carried out Hes7 promoter analysis in transgenic mouse embryos and have identified an essential 400 bp region, which contains binding sites of Tbx6 and the Wnt signaling effector Lef1. We have found that the Hes7 promoter is activated by Tbx6, and normal activity of the Hes7 promoter in the mouse PSM requires Tbx6 binding sites. Our results demonstrate that Wnt pathway molecules activate the Hes7 promoter cooperatively with Tbx6 in cell culture and are necessary for its proper expression in the mouse PSM. Furthermore, it is shown that the chemical Gsk3 inhibitor LiCl lengthens the oscillatory period of Hes7 promoter activity.Our data suggest that Tbx6 and the Wnt pathway cooperatively regulate proper Hes7 expression. Furthermore, proper Hes7 promoter activity and expression is important for the normal pace of oscillation.
Project description:Domestic cats exhibit abundant variations in tail morphology and serve as an excellent model to study the development and evolution of vertebrate tails. Cats with shortened and kinked tails were first recorded in the Malayan archipelago by Charles Darwin in 1868 and remain quite common today in Southeast and East Asia. To elucidate the genetic basis of short tails in Asian cats, we built a pedigree of 13 cats segregating at the trait with a founder from southern China and performed linkage mapping based on whole genome sequencing data from the pedigree. The short-tailed trait was mapped to a 5.6 Mb region of Chr E1, within which the substitution c. 5T?>?C in the somite segmentation-related gene HES7 was identified as the causal mutation resulting in a missense change (p.V2A). Validation in 245 unrelated cats confirmed the correlation between HES7-c. 5T?>?C and Chinese short-tailed feral cats as well as the Japanese Bobtail breed, indicating a common genetic basis of the two. In addition, some of our sampled kinked-tailed cats could not be explained by either HES7 or the Manx-related T-box, suggesting at least three independent events in the evolution of domestic cats giving rise to short-tailed traits.
Project description:The reduced cost and improved efficiency of whole genome sequencing (WGS) is drastically improving the development of cats as biomedical models. Persian cats are models for Leber's congenital amaurosis (LCA), the most severe and earliest onset form of visual impairment in humans. Cats with innocuous breed-defining traits, such as a bobbed tail, can also be models for somite segmentation and vertebral column development.The first WGS in cats was conducted on a trio segregating for LCA and the bobbed tail abnormality. Variants were identified using FreeBayes and effects predicted using SnpEff. Variants within a known haplotype block for cat LCA and specific candidate genes for both phenotypes were prioritized by the predicted variant effect on the proteins and concordant segregation within the trio. The efficiency of WGS of a single trio of domestic cats was evaluated.A stop gain was identified at position c.577C > T in cat AIPL1, a predicted p.Arg193*. A c.5A > G variant causing a p.V2A was identified in HES7. The variants segregated concordantly in a Persian - Japanese bobtail pedigree. Over 1700 cats from 40 different breeds and populations were genotyped for the AIPL1 variant, defining an allelic frequency in only Persian -related breeds of 1.15%. A sub-set of cats was genotyped for the HES7 variant, supporting the variant as private to the Japanese bobtail breed. Approximately 18 million SNPs were identified for application in cat research. The cat AIPL1 variant would have been considered a high priority variant for evaluation, regardless of a priori knowledge from previous genetic studies.This study represents the first effort of the 99 Lives Cat Genome Sequencing Initiative to identify disease--causing variants in the domestic cat using WGS. The current cat reference assembly is efficient for gene and variant identification. However, as the feline variant database improves, development of cats as biomedical models for human disease will be more efficient, providing an alternative, large animal model for drug and gene therapy trials. Undiagnosed human patients with early-onset blindness should be screened for this AIPL1 variant. The HES7 variant should further calibrate the somite segmentation clock.
Project description:Vertebrate segmentation is regulated by the "segmentation clock", which drives cyclic expression of several genes in the caudal presomitic mesoderm (PSM). One such gene is Lunatic fringe (Lfng), which encodes a modifier of Notch signalling, and which is also expressed in a stripe at the cranial end of the PSM, adjacent to the newly forming somite border. We have investigated the functional requirements for these modes of Lfng expression during somitogenesis by generating mice in which Lfng is expressed in the cranial stripe but strongly reduced in the caudal PSM, and find that requirements for Lfng activity alter during axial growth. Formation of cervical, thoracic and lumbar somites/vertebrae, but not sacral and adjacent tail somites/vertebrae, depends on caudal, cyclic Lfng expression. Indeed, the sacral region segments normally in the complete absence of Lfng and shows a reduced requirement for another oscillating gene, Hes7, indicating that the architecture of the clock alters as segmentation progresses. We present evidence that Lfng controls dorsal-ventral axis specification in the tail, and also suggest that Lfng controls the expression or activity of a long-range signal that regulates axial extension.
Project description:Proper timing of gene expression is essential for many biological events, but the molecular mechanisms that control timing remain largely unclear. It has been suggested that introns contribute to the timing mechanisms of gene expression, but this hypothesis has not been tested with natural genes. One of the best systems for examining the significance of introns is the oscillator network in the somite segmentation clock, because mathematical modeling predicted that oscillating expression depends on negative feedback with a delayed timing. The basic helix-loop-helix repressor gene Hes7 is cyclically expressed in the presomitic mesoderm (PSM) and regulates the somite segmentation. Here, we found that introns lead to an ?19-min delay in the Hes7 gene expression, and mathematical modeling suggested that without such a delay, Hes7 oscillations would be abolished. To test this prediction, we generated mice carrying the Hes7 locus whose introns were removed. In these mice, Hes7 expression did not oscillate but occurred steadily, leading to severe segmentation defects. These results indicate that introns are indeed required for Hes7 oscillations and point to the significance of intronic delays in dynamic gene expression.
Project description:Pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) have increasingly been used to model different aspects of embryogenesis and organ formation. Despite recent advances in the in vitro induction of major mesodermal lineages and mesoderm-derived cell types experimental model systems that can recapitulate more complex biological features of human mesoderm development and patterning are largely missing. Here, we utilized induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) for the stepwise in vitro induction of presomitic mesoderm (PSM) and its derivatives to model distinct aspects of human somitogenesis. We focused initially on modeling the human segmentation clock, a major biological concept believed to underlie the rhythmic and controlled emergence of somites, which give rise to the segmental pattern of the vertebrate axial skeleton. We succeeded to observe oscillatory expression of core segmentation clock genes, including HES7 and DKK1, determined the period of the human segmentation clock to be around five hours and showed the presence of dynamic traveling wave-like gene expression within in vitro induced human PSM. We furthermore identified and compared oscillatory genes in human and murine PSC-derived PSM, which revealed species-specific as well as common molecular components and novel pathways associated with the mouse and human segmentation clocks. Utilizing CRISPR/Cas9-based genome editing technology, we then targeted genes, for which mutations in patients with segmentation defects of vertebrae (SDV) such as spondylocostal dysostosis (SCD) have been reported (e.g. HES7, LFNG, DLL3 and MESP2 DLL3). Subsequent analysis of patient-like knock-out and point-mutation lines as well as patient-derived iPSCs together with their genetically corrected isogenic controls revealed gene-specific alterations in oscillation, synchronization or differentiation properties, validating the overall utility of our model system, to provide novel insights into the human segmentation clock as well as diseases associated with the formation of the human axial skeleton. Overall design: RNAseq analysis of iPSC and presomitic mesoderm (PSM) samples derived from either control (WT) or knock-out (KO) lines generated in the Hes7-reporter background. At least two different knock-out clones for each targeted gene (HES7, DLL3, LFNG and MESP2) were analyzed. Original iPSC line from which the Hes7-reporter is derived (201B7) was analyzed and used for comparison.
Project description:During vertebrate development, the presomitic mesoderm (PSM) periodically segments into somites, which will form the segmented vertebral column and associated muscle, connective tissue, and dermis. The periodicity of somitogenesis is regulated by a segmentation clock of oscillating Notch activity. Here, we examined mouse mutants lacking only <i>Fgf4</i> or <i>Fgf8</i>, which we previously demonstrated act redundantly to prevent PSM differentiation. <i>Fgf8</i> is not required for somitogenesis, but <i>Fgf4</i> mutants display a range of vertebral defects. We analyzed <i>Fgf4</i> mutants by quantifying mRNAs fluorescently labeled by hybridization chain reaction within Imaris-based volumetric tissue subsets. These data indicate that FGF4 maintains <i>Hes7</i> levels and normal oscillatory patterns. To support our hypothesis that FGF4 regulates somitogenesis through <i>Hes7</i>, we demonstrate genetic synergy between <i>Hes7</i> and <i>Fgf4</i>, but not with <i>Fgf8</i>. Our data indicate that <i>Fgf4</i> is potentially important in a spectrum of human Segmentation Defects of the Vertebrae caused by defective Notch oscillations.
Project description:Somites are periodically formed by segmentation of the anterior parts of the presomitic mesoderm (PSM). In the mouse embryo, this periodicity is controlled by the segmentation clock gene Hes7, which exhibits wave-like oscillatory expression in the PSM. Despite intensive studies, the exact mechanism of such synchronous oscillatory dynamics of Hes7 expression still remains to be analyzed. Detailed analysis of the segmentation clock has been hampered because it requires the use of live embryos, and establishment of an in vitro culture system would facilitate such analyses. Here, we established a simple and efficient method to generate mouse ES cell-derived PSM-like tissues, in which Hes7 expression oscillates like traveling waves. In these tissues, Hes7 oscillation is synchronized between neighboring cells, and the posterior-anterior axis is self-organized as the central-peripheral axis. This method is applicable to chemical-library screening and will facilitate the analysis of the molecular nature of the segmentation clock.