Identification of differentially expressed genes during development of the zebrafish pineal complex using RNA sequencing.
ABSTRACT: We describe a method for isolating RNA suitable for high-throughput RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) from small numbers of fluorescently labeled cells isolated from live zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos without using costly, commercially available columns. This method ensures high cell viability after dissociation and suspension of cells and gives a very high yield of intact RNA. We demonstrate the utility of our new protocol by isolating RNA from fluorescence activated cell sorted (FAC sorted) pineal complex neurons in wild-type and tbx2b knockdown embryos at 24 hours post-fertilization. Tbx2b is a transcription factor required for pineal complex formation. We describe a bioinformatics pipeline used to analyze differential expression following high-throughput sequencing and demonstrate the validity of our results using in situ hybridization of differentially expressed transcripts. This protocol brings modern transcriptome analysis to the study of small cell populations in zebrafish.
Project description:We describe a method for isolating RNA suitable for high-throughput RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) from small numbers of fluorescently labeled cells isolated from live zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos without using costly, commercially available columns. This method ensures high cell viability after dissociation and suspension of cells and gives a very high yield of intact RNA. We demonstrate the utility of our new protocol by isolating RNA from fluorescence activated cell sorted (FAC sorted) pineal complex neurons in wild-type and tbx2b knockdown embryos at 24 hours post fertilization. Tbx2b is a transcription factor required for pineal complex formation. We describe a bioinformatics pipeline used to analyze differential expression following high-throughput sequencing and demonstrate the validity of our results using in situ hybridization of differentially expressed transcripts. This protocol brings modern transcriptome analysis to the study of small cell populations in zebrafish. Differential expression analysis of mRNA levels in a single time-point (24 hpf) between wild-type and Tbx2b deficient FAC sorted pineal complex cells
Project description:The pineal complex of zebrafish consists of a pineal organ and a left-sided parapineal organ. Mutation of the floating head (flh) gene, which encodes a homeodomain protein, causes premature termination of pineal cell division without affecting specification or asymmetric placement of the parapineal. The from beyond (fby) mutation, a premature stop codon in the T-domain-containing protein Tbx2b, disrupts formation of the parapineal while leaving the pineal largely intact. However, flh is reported as being required for tbx2b transcription. To resolve the paradox that flhand tbx2b mutants have opposite phenotypes but have been placed in the same genetic pathway, we have examined transcriptional cross-regulation in single flh or fby mutants and genetic epistasis in double mutants. Careful analysis shows that flh is not required for tbx2b transcription and double mutants exhibit an additive phenotype. We conclude that Flh and Tbx2b regulate separate programs of pineal and parapineal development.
Project description:The mammalian suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), located in the ventral hypothalamus, is a major regulator of circadian rhythms in mammals and birds. However, the role of the SCN in lower vertebrates remains poorly understood. Zebrafish cyclops (cyc) mutants lack ventral brain, including the region that gives rise to the SCN. We have used cyc embryos to define the function of the zebrafish SCN in regulating circadian rhythms in the developing pineal organ. The pineal organ is the major source of the circadian hormone melatonin, which regulates rhythms such as daily rest/activity cycles. Mammalian pineal rhythms are controlled almost exclusively by the SCN. In zebrafish and many other lower vertebrates, the pineal has an endogenous clock that is responsible in part for cyclic melatonin biosynthesis and gene expression.We find that pineal rhythms are present in cyc mutants despite the absence of an SCN. The arginine vasopressin-like protein (Avpl, formerly called Vasotocin) is a peptide hormone expressed in and around the SCN. We find avpl mRNA is absent in cyc mutants, supporting previous work suggesting the SCN is missing. In contrast, expression of the putative circadian clock genes, cryptochrome 1b (cry1b) and cryptochrome 3 (cry3), in the brain of the developing fish is unaltered. Expression of two pineal rhythmic genes, exo-rhodopsin (exorh) and serotonin-N-acetyltransferase (aanat2), involved in photoreception and melatonin synthesis, respectively, is also similar between cyc embryos and their wildtype (WT) siblings. The timing of the peaks and troughs of expression are the same, although the amplitude of expression is slightly decreased in the mutants. Cyclic gene expression persists for two days in cyc embryos transferred to constant light or constant dark, suggesting a circadian clock is driving the rhythms. However, the amplitude of rhythms in cyc mutants kept in constant conditions decreased more quickly than in their WT siblings.Our data suggests that circadian rhythms can be initiated and maintained in the absence of SCN and other tissues in the ventral brain. However, the SCN may have a role in regulating the amplitude of rhythms when environmental cues are absent. This provides some of the first evidence that the SCN of teleosts is not essential for establishing circadian rhythms during development. Several SCN-independent circadian rhythms have also been found in mammalian species. Thus, zebrafish may serve as a model system for understanding how vertebrate embryos coordinate rhythms that are controlled by different circadian clocks.
Project description:Structural differences between the left and right sides of the brain exist throughout the vertebrate lineage. By studying the zebrafish pineal complex, which exhibits notable asymmetries, both the genes and the cell movements that result in left-right differences can be characterized. The pineal complex consists of the midline pineal organ and the left-sided parapineal organ. The parapineal is responsible for instructing the asymmetric architecture of the bilateral habenulae, the brain nuclei that flank the pineal complex. Using in vivo time-lapse confocal microscopy, we find that the cells that form the parapineal organ migrate as a cluster of cells from the pineal complex anlage to the left side of the brain. In a screen for mutations that disrupted brain laterality, we identified a nonsense mutation in the T-box2b (tbx2b) gene, which encodes a transcription factor expressed in the pineal complex anlage. The tbx2b mutant makes fewer parapineal cells, and they remain as individuals near the midline rather than migrating leftward as a group. The reduced number and incorrect placement of parapineal cells result in symmetric development of the adjacent habenular nuclei. We conclude that tbx2b functions to specify the correct number of parapineal cells and to regulate their asymmetric migration.
Project description:The pineal gland plays a central role in the photoneuroendocrine system and acts as a photosensory organ in lower vertebrates. The orphan nuclear receptor Rev-erbalpha (NR1D1) has previously been shown to be expressed in the pineal and to be regulated with a robust circadian rhythm during zebrafish embryogenesis. This early pineal expression is under the control of the transcription factor Orthodenticle homeobox 5 (Otx5). In this paper, we show that Otx5 regulates the second zfRev-erbalpha promoter, ZfP2. Despite the absence of a classical Otx-binding site within ZfP2, this regulation depends on the integrity of the Otx5 homeodomain. Mapping experiments as well as EMSAs show that this interaction between Otx5 and ZfP2 depends on a noncanonical bipartite Otx-binding site (GANNCTTA and TAAA) that we called pineal expression related element (PERE). We showed that PERE is necessary for pineal expression in vivo by injecting zebrafish embryos with wild type and mutated versions of zfRev-erbalpha promoter fused to green fluorescent protein. Interestingly, PERE is found upstream of other genes expressed in the pineal gland, suggesting that it may play an important role in governing pineal expression. Our data establish that PERE is a novel cis-acting element contributing to pineal-specific gene expression and to Otx target gene regulation.
Project description:The zebrafish pineal gland (epiphysis) is an autonomous clock organ. In addition to being a site of melatonin production, it contains photoreceptor cells and functions as a circadian clock pace maker, making zebrafish a useful model system to study the developmental control of expression of genes associated with melatonin synthesis and photodetection, and the circadian clock. Here we have used DNA microarray technology to study the zebrafish pineal transcriptome. Analysis of gene expression at five different developmental stages (three embryonic and two adult) has revealed a highly dynamic transcriptional profile, revealing many genes that are highly expressed in the pineal gland. Statistical analysis of the data based on Gene Ontology (GO) annotation indicates that many transcription factors and cell cycle genes are highly expressed during embryonic stages, whereas genes dedicated to visual system signal transduction are preferentially expressed in the adult. Furthermore, several genes were identified that exhibit day/night differences in expression. Our data provide a rich source of candidate genes for distinct functions at different stages of pineal gland development. Keywords: time course Overall design: Adults and embryos were kept under a 14-hr-light/10-hr-dark cycle. Pineal glands were isolated manually, guided by GFP fluorescence, from embryonic (3d, 5d, and 10d) and adult (3 month and 1-2 yr) transgenic zebrafish in which expression of the GFP gene is driven by the pineal-specific aanat2 promoter. For comparison, brain tissue from which the pineal gland and eyes had been removed was also collected (referred to as “brain”). Altogether, we collected 20 types of samples: five time points (3d, 5d, 10d, 3 mo, and 1-2 yr), two organs (pineal gland and brain), and two sampling times (day and night). For each type of sample, tissue was obtained and processed three to five times. Total RNA was prepared from each sample using the RNeasy Lipid Tissue Mini Kit (Qiagen) and biotin-labeled cDNA was generated using the Ovation Biotin system kit (NeuGen). The Affymetrix GeneChip® Zebrafish Genome Array was hybridized and processed using the standard Affymetrix protocol.
Project description:The zebrafish pineal gland (epiphysis) is a site of melatonin production, contains photoreceptor cells, and functions as a circadian clock pace maker. Here, we have used microarray technology to study the zebrafish pineal transcriptome. Analysis of gene expression at three larval and two adult stages revealed a highly dynamic transcriptional profile, revealing many genes that are highly expressed in the zebrafish pineal gland. Statistical analysis of the data based on Gene Ontology annotation indicates that many transcription factors are highly expressed during larval stages, whereas genes dedicated to phototransduction are preferentially expressed in the adult. Furthermore, several genes were identified that exhibit day/night differences in expression. Among the multiple candidate genes suggested by these data, we note the identification of a tissue-specific form of the unc119 gene with a possible role in pineal development.
Project description:The pineal gland, sharing morphological and biochemical similarities with the retina, plays a unique and central role in the photoneuroendocrine system. The unique development of the pineal gland is directed by a specific combination of the expressed genes, but little is known about the regulatory mechanism underlying the pineal-specific gene expression. We isolated a 1.1-kbp fragment upstream of the zebrafish exo-rhodopsin (exorh) gene, which is expressed specifically in the pineal gland. Transgenic analysis using an enhanced green fluorescent protein reporter gene demonstrated that the proximal 147-bp region of the exorh promoter is sufficient to direct pineal-specific expression. This region contains three copies of a putative cone rod homeobox (Crx)Otx-binding site, which is known to be required for expression of both retina- and pineal-specific genes. Deletion and mutational analyses of the exorh promoter revealed that a previously uncharacterized sequence TGACCCCAATCT termed pineal expression-promoting element (PIPE) is required for pineal-specific promoter activity in addition to the CrxOtx-binding sites. By using the zebrafish rhodopsin (rh) promoter that drives retina-specific expression, we created a reporter construct having ectopic PIPE in the rh promoter at a position equivalent to that in the exorh promoter by introducing five nucleotide changes. Such a slight modification in the rh promoter induced ectopic enhanced green fluorescent protein expression in the pineal gland without affecting its retinal expression. These results identify PIPE as a critical cis-element contributing to the pineal-specific gene expression, in combination with the CrxOtx-binding site(s).
Project description:MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, non-coding RNA molecules that bind to the mRNA of the target genes and regulate the expression of the gene at the post-transcriptional level. Zebrafish is an economically important freshwater fish species globally considered as a good predictive model for studying human diseases and development. The present study focused on uncovering known as well as novel miRNAs, target prediction of the novel miRNAs and the differential expression of the known miRNA using the small RNA sequencing data of the brain and pineal gland (dark and light treatments) obtained from NCBI SRA. A total of 165, 151 and 145 known zebrafish miRNAs were found in the brain, pineal gland (dark treatment) and pineal gland (light treatment), respectively. Chromosomes 4 and 5 of zebrafish reference assembly GRCz10 were found to contain maximum number of miR genes. The miR-181a and miR-182 were found to be highly expressed in terms of number of reads in the brain and pineal gland, respectively. Other ncRNAs, such as tRNA, rRNA and snoRNA, were curated against Rfam. Using GRCz10 as reference, the subsequent bioinformatic analyses identified 25, 19 and 9 novel miRNAs from the brain, pineal gland (dark treatment) and pineal gland (light treatment), respectively. Targets of the novel miRNAs were identified, based on sequence complementarity between miRNAs and mRNA, by searching for antisense hits in the 3'-UTR of reference RNA sequences of the zebrafish. The discovery of novel miRNAs and their targets in the zebrafish genome can be a valuable scientific resource for further functional studies not only in zebrafish but also in other economically important fishes.
Project description:In non-mammalian vertebrates, the pineal gland functions as the central pacemaker that regulates the circadian rhythms of animal behavior and physiology. We generated a transgenic zebrafish line [Tg(Gnat2:gal4-VP16/UAS:nfsB-mCherry)] in which the E. coli nitroreductase is expressed in pineal photoreceptor cells. In developing embryos and young adults, the transgene is expressed in both retinal and pineal photoreceptor cells. During aging, the expression of the transgene in retinal photoreceptor cells gradually diminishes. By 8 months of age, the Gnat2 promoter-driven nitroreductase is no longer expressed in retinal photoreceptor cells, but its expression in pineal photoreceptor cells persists. This provides a tool for selective ablation of pineal photoreceptor cells, i.e., by treatments with metronidazole. In the absence of pineal photoreceptor cells, the behavioral visual sensitivity of the fish remains unchanged; however, the circadian rhythms of rod and cone sensitivity are diminished. Brief light exposures restore the circadian rhythms of behavioral visual sensitivity. Together, the data suggest that retinal photoreceptor cells respond to environmental cues and are capable of entraining the circadian rhythms of visual sensitivity; however, they are insufficient for maintaining the rhythms. Cellular signals from the pineal photoreceptor cells may be required for maintaining the circadian rhythms of visual sensitivity.