The bHLH-PAS transcription factor dysfusion regulates tarsal joint formation in response to Notch activity during drosophila leg development.
ABSTRACT: A characteristic of all arthropods is the presence of flexible structures called joints that connect all leg segments. Drosophila legs include two types of joints: the proximal or "true" joints that are motile due to the presence of muscle attachment and the distal joints that lack musculature. These joints are not only morphologically, functionally and evolutionarily different, but also the morphogenetic program that forms them is distinct. Development of both proximal and distal joints requires Notch activity; however, it is still unknown how this pathway can control the development of such homologous although distinct structures. Here we show that the bHLH-PAS transcription factor encoded by the gene dysfusion (dys), is expressed and absolutely required for tarsal joint development while it is dispensable for proximal joints. In the presumptive tarsal joints, Dys regulates the expression of the pro-apoptotic genes reaper and head involution defective and the expression of the RhoGTPases modulators, RhoGEf2 and RhoGap71E, thus directing key morphogenetic events required for tarsal joint development. When ectopically expressed, dys is able to induce some aspects of the morphogenetic program necessary for distal joint development such as fold formation and programmed cell death. This novel Dys function depends on its obligated partner Tango to activate the transcription of target genes. We also identified a dedicated dys cis-regulatory module that regulates dys expression in the tarsal presumptive leg joints through direct Su(H) binding. All these data place dys as a key player downstream of Notch, directing distal versus proximal joint morphogenesis.
Project description:The Drosophila leg imaginal disc provides a paradigm with which to understand the fundamental developmental mechanisms that generate an intricate appendage structure. Leg formation depends on the subdivision of the leg proximodistal (PD) axis into broad domains by the leg gap genes. The leg gap genes act combinatorially to initiate the expression of the Notch ligands Delta (Dl) and Serrate (Ser) in a segmental pattern. Dl and Ser induce the expression of a set of transcriptional regulators along the segment border, which mediate leg segment growth and joint morphogenesis. Here we show that Lines accumulates in nuclei in the presumptive tarsus and the inter-joints of proximal leg segments and governs the formation of these structures by destabilizing the nuclear protein Bowl. Across the presumptive tarsus, lines modulates the opposing expression landscapes of the leg gap gene dachshund (dac) and the tarsal PD genes, bric-a-brac 2 (bab), apterous (ap) and BarH1 (Bar). In this manner, lines inhibits proximal tarsal fates and promotes medial and distal tarsal fates. Across proximal leg segments, lines antagonizes bowl to promote Dl expression by relief-of-repression. In turn, Dl signals asymmetrically to stabilize Bowl in adjacent distal cells. Bowl, then, acts cell-autonomously, together with one or more redundant factors, to repress Dl expression. Together, lines and bowl act as a binary switch to generate a stable Notch signaling interface between Dl-expressing cells and adjacent distal cell. lines plays analogous roles in developing antennae, which are serially homologous to legs, suggesting evolutionarily conserved roles for lines in ventral appendage formation.
Project description:The Drosophila leg imaginal disc consists of a peripheral region that contributes to adult body wall, and a central region that forms the leg proper. While the patterning signals and transcription factors that determine the identity of adult structures have been identified, the mechanisms that determine the shape of these structures remain largely unknown. The family of Rho GTPases, which consists of seven members in flies, modulates cell adhesion, actomyosin contractility, protrusive membrane activity, and cell-matrix adhesion to generate mechanical forces that shape adult structures. The Rho GTPases are ubiquitously expressed and it remains unclear how they orchestrate morphogenetic events. The Rho guanine nucleotide exchange factors (RhoGEFs) and Rho GTPase activating proteins (RhoGAPs), which respectively activate and deactivate corresponding Rho GTPases, have been proposed to regulate the activity of Rho signaling cascades in specific spatiotemporal patterns to orchestrate morphogenetic events. Here we identify restricted expression of 12 of the 20 RhoGEFs and 10 of the 22 Rho RhoGAPs encoded in Drosophila during metamorphosis. Expression of a subset of each family of RhoGTPase regulators was restricted to motile cell populations including tendon, muscle, trachea, and peripodial stalk cells. A second subset was restricted either to all presumptive joints or only to presumptive tarsal joints. Depletion of individual RhoGEFs and RhoGAPs in the epithelium of the disc proper identified several joint-specific genes, which act downstream of segmental patterning signals to control epithelial morphogenesis. Our studies provide a framework with which to understand how Rho signaling cascades orchestrate complex morphogenetic events in multi-cellular organisms, and evidence that patterning signals regulate these cascades to control apical constriction and epithelial invagination at presumptive joints.
Project description:The formation of signalling boundaries is one of the strategies employed by the Notch (N) pathway to give rise to two distinct signalling populations of cells. Unravelling the mechanisms involved in the regulation of these signalling boundaries is essential to understanding the role of N during development and diseases. The function of N in the segmentation of the Drosophila leg provides a good system to pursue these mechanisms at the molecular level. Transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of the N ligands, Serrate (Ser) and Delta (Dl) generates a signalling boundary that allows the directional activation of N in the distalmost part of the segment, the presumptive joint. A negative feedback loop between odd-skipped-related genes and the N pathway maintains this signalling boundary throughout development in the true joints. However, the mechanisms controlling N signalling boundaries in the tarsal joints are unknown. Here we show that the non-canonical tarsal-less (tal) gene (also known as pri), which encodes for four small related peptides, is expressed in the N-activated region and required for joint development in the tarsi during pupal development. This function of tal is both temporally and functionally separate from the tal-mediated tarsal intercalation during mid-third instar that we reported previously. In the pupal function described here, N signalling activates tal expression and reciprocally Tal peptides feedback on N by repressing the transcription of Dl in the tarsal joints. This Tal-induced repression of Dl is mediated by the post-transcriptional activation of the Shavenbaby transcription factor, in a similar manner as it has been recently described in the embryo. Thus, a negative feedback loop involving Tal regulates the formation and maintenance of a Dl+/Dl- boundary in the tarsal segments highlighting an ancient mechanism for the regulation of N signalling based on the action of small cell signalling peptides.
Project description:Joints permit efficient locomotion, especially among animals with a rigid skeleton. Joint morphologies vary in the body of individual animals, and the shapes of homologous joints often differ across species. The diverse locomotive behaviors of animals are based, in part, on the developmental and evolutionary history of joint morphogenesis. We showed previously that strictly coordinated cell-differentiation and cell-movement events within the epidermis sculpt the interlocking ball-and-socket joints in the adult Drosophila tarsus (distal leg). Here, we show that the tarsal joints of various insect species can be classified into three types: ball-and-socket, side-by-side and uniform. The last two probably result from joint formation without the cell-differentiation step, the cell-movement step, or both. Similar morphological variations were observed in Drosophila legs when Notch function was temporarily blocked during joint formation, implying that the independent acquisition of cell differentiation and cell movement underlay the elaboration of tarsal joint morphologies during insect evolution. These results provide a framework for understanding how the seemingly complex morphology of the interlocking joint could have developed during evolution by the addition of simple developmental modules: cell differentiation and cell movement.
Project description:The development of joints in the mammalian skeleton depends on the precise regulation of multiple interacting signaling pathways including the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) pathway, a key regulator of joint development, digit patterning, skeletal growth, and chondrogenesis. Mutations in the BMP receptor ACVR1 cause the rare genetic disease fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) in which extensive and progressive extra-skeletal bone forms in soft connective tissues after birth. These mutations, which enhance BMP-pSmad1/5 pathway activity to induce ectopic bone, also affect skeletal development. FOP can be diagnosed at birth by symmetric, characteristic malformations of the great toes (first digits) that are associated with decreased joint mobility, shortened digit length, and absent, fused, and/or malformed phalanges. To elucidate the role of ACVR1-mediated BMP signaling in digit skeletal development, we used an Acvr1<sup>R206H</sup><sup>/+</sup>;Prrx1-Cre knock-in mouse model that mimics the first digit phenotype of human FOP. We have determined that the effects of increased Acvr1-mediated signaling by the Acvr1<sup>R206H</sup> mutation are not limited to the first digit but alter BMP signaling, Gdf5+ joint progenitor cell localization, and joint development in a manner that differently affects individual digits during embryogenesis. The Acvr1<sup>R206H</sup> mutation leads to delayed and disrupted joint specification and cleavage in the digits and alters the development of cartilage and endochondral ossification at sites of joint morphogenesis. These findings demonstrate an important role for ACVR1-mediated BMP signaling in the regulation of joint and skeletal formation, show a direct link between failure to restrict BMP signaling in the digit joint interzone and failure of joint cleavage at the presumptive interzone, and implicate impaired, digit-specific joint development as the proximal cause of digit malformation in FOP.
Project description:Muscle fatigue can cause people to change their movement patterns and these changes could contribute to acute or overuse injuries. However, these effects depend on which muscles are fatigued. The purpose of this study was to determine the differential effects of proximal and distal upper extremity muscle fatigue on repetitive movements. Fourteen subjects completed a repetitive ratcheting task before and after a fatigue protocol on separate days. The fatigue protocol either fatigued the proximal (shoulder flexor) or distal (finger flexor) muscles. Pre/Post changes in trunk, shoulder, elbow, and wrist kinematics were compared to determine how proximal and distal fatigue affected multi-joint movement patterns and variability. Proximal fatigue caused a significant increase (7°, p < 0.005) in trunk lean and velocity, reduced humeral elevation (11°, p < 0.005), and increased elbow flexion (4°, p < 0.01). In contrast, distal fatigue caused small but significant changes in trunk angles (2°, p < 0.05), increased velocity of wrench movement relative to the hand (17°/s, p < 0.001), and earlier wrist extension (4%, p < 0.005). Movement variability increased at proximal joints but not distal joints after both fatigue protocols (p < 0.05). Varying movements at proximal joints may help people adapt to fatigue at either proximal or distal joints. The identified differences between proximal and distal muscle fatigue adaptations could facilitate risk assessment of occupational tasks.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Knowledge of mechanisms directing diarthrodial joint development may be useful in understanding joint pathologies and identifying new therapies. We have previously established that axolotl salamanders can fully repair large articular cartilage lesions, which may be due to the presence of an interzone-like tissue in the intra-articular space. Study objectives were to further characterize axolotl diarthrodial joint structure and determine the differentiation potential of interzone-like tissue in a skeletal microenvironment. DESIGN:Diarthrodial joint morphology and expression of aggrecan, brother of CDO (BOC), type I collagen, type II collagen, and growth/differentiation factor 5 (GDF5) were examined in femorotibial joints of sexually mature (>12 months) axolotls. Joint tissue cellularity was evaluated in individuals from 2 to 24 months of age. Chondrogenic potential of the interzone was evaluated by placing interzone-like tissue into 4 mm tibial defects. RESULTS:Cavitation reached completion in the femoroacetabular and humeroradial joints, but an interzone-like tissue was retained in the intra-articular space of distal limb joints. Joint tissue cellularity decreased to 7 months of age and then remained stable. Gene expression patterns of joint markers are broadly similar in developing mammals and mature axolotls. When interzone-like tissue was transplanted into critical size skeletal defects, an accessory joint developed within the defect site. CONCLUSIONS:These experiments indicate that mature axolotl diarthrodial joints are phenotypically similar to developing synovial joints in mammals. Generation of an accessory joint by interzone-like tissue suggests multipotent cellular differentiation potential similar to that of interzone cells in the mammalian fetus. The data support the axolotl as a novel vertebrate model for joint development and repair.
Project description:Spiders are equipped with a large number of innervated cuticular specializations, which respond to various sensory stimuli. The physiological function of mechanosensory organs has been analysed in great detail in some model spider species (e.g. Cupiennius salei); however, much less is known about the distribution and function of chemosensory organs. Furthermore, our knowledge on how the sense organ pattern develops on the spider appendages is limited. Here we analyse the development of the pattern and distribution of six different external mechano- and chemosensory organs in all postembryonic stages and in adult male and female spiders of the species Parasteatoda tepidariorum. We show that except for small mechanosensory setae, external sense organs appear in fixed positions on the pedipalps and first walking legs, arranged in longitudinal rows along the proximal-distal axis or in invariable positions relative to morphological landmarks (joints, distal tarsal tip). A comparison to other Entelegynae spiders shows that these features are conserved. We hope that this study lays the foundation for future molecular analysis to address the question how this conserved pattern is generated.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Osteochondrosis is considered multifactorial in origin, with factors such as nutrition, conformation, body size, trauma and genetics thought to contribute to its pathogenesis. Few studies have investigated the effects of genetic variability of osteochondrosis in Thoroughbreds.<h4>Objectives</h4>To describe the prevalence and genetic variability of a subset of osteochondrosis lesions in a group of Thoroughbred yearlings.<h4>Study design</h4>Retrospective cohort study.<h4>Methods</h4>Radiographs of 1962 Thoroughbred yearlings were retrieved from clinical records obtained between 2005 and 2013. Pedigree information was obtained from the Australian Stud Book. Osteochondrosis lesions were documented in selected joints and estimates of heritability were obtained by fitting linear mixed models in ASREML software.<h4>Results</h4>The overall prevalence of osteochondrosis was 23%. Osteochondrosis was identified in 10% of stifle joints, 6% of hock joints and 8% of fetlock joints. The heritability estimates ranged from 0 to 0.21. The largest estimates were 0.10, 0.14, 0.16 and 0.21 for lesions of the distal intermediate ridge of the tibia, dorso-proximal proximal phalanx (P1), any stifle osteochondrosis, and lesions of the lateral trochlear ridge of the distal femur, respectively. Although calculated heritability estimates had high standard errors, meta-analyses combining the present results with published estimates were significant at 0.10, 0.17, 0.15 and 0.20 for stifle, tarsal, fetlock and these joints combined, respectively. In addition, there was a permanent environment attributable to the dam effect.<h4>Main limitations</h4>Inclusion criteria were based on radiographic findings in specific joints at a specific age range in Thoroughbreds.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The present results indicate that only a proportion of osteochondrosis in Thoroughbreds is heritable. The permanent environment effects of the dam were observed to have effects on some categories of osteochondrosis.
Project description:Serial homologs are similar structures that develop at different positions within a body plan. These structures share some, but not all, aspects of developmental patterning, and their evolution is thought to be constrained by shared, pleiotropic gene functions. Here we describe the functions of 17 developmental genes during metamorphic development of the legs in the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum. This study provides informative comparisons between appendage development in Drosophila melanogaster and T. castaneum, between embryonic and adult development in T. castaneum, and between the development of serially homologous appendages. The leg gap genes Distal-less and dachshund are conserved in function. Notch signaling, the zinc-finger transcription factors related to odd-skipped, and bric-à-brac have conserved functions in promoting joint development. homothorax knockdown alters the identity of proximal leg segments but does not reduce growth. Lim1 is required for intermediate leg development but not distal tarsus and pretarsus development as in D. melanogaster. Development of the tarsus requires decapentaplegic, rotund, spineless, abrupt, and bric-à-brac and the EGF ligand encoded by Keren. Metathoracic legs of T. castaneum have four tarsomeres, whereas other legs have five. Patterns of gene activity in the tarsus suggest that patterning in the middle of the tarsal region, not the proximal- or distal-most areas, is responsible for this difference in segment number. Through comparisons with other recent studies of T. castaneum appendage development, we test hypotheses for the modularity or interdependence of development during evolution of serial homologs.