Tbx4 interacts with the short stature homeobox gene Shox2 in limb development.
ABSTRACT: The short stature homeodomain transcription factors SHOX and SHOX2 play key roles in limb formation. To gain more insight into genes regulated by Shox2 during limb development, we analyzed expression profiles of WT and Shox2-/- mouse embryonic limbs and identified the T-Box transcription factor Tbx4 as a potential downstream target. Tbx4 is known to exert essential functions in skeletal and muscular hindlimb development. In humans, haploinsufficiency of TBX4 causes small patella syndrome, a skeletal dysplasia characterized by anomalies of the knee, pelvis, and foot.Here, we demonstrate an inhibitory regulatory effect of Shox2 on Tbx4 specifically in the forelimbs. We also show that Tbx4 activates Shox2 expression in fore- and hindlimbs, suggesting Shox2 as a feedback modulator of Tbx4. Using EMSA studies, we find that Tbx4/TBX4 is able to bind to distinct T-box binding sites within the mouse and human Shox2/SHOX2 promoter.Our data identifies Tbx4 as a novel transcriptional activator of Shox2 during murine fore- and hindlimb development. Tbx4 is also regulated by Shox2 specifically in the forelimb bud possibly via a feedback mechanism. These data extend our understanding of the role and regulation of Tbx4 and Shox2 in limb development and limb associated diseases.
Project description:Limbs originated from paired fish fins are an important innovation in Gnathostomata. Many studies have focused on limb development-related genes, of which the T-box transcription factor 4 gene (tbx4) has been considered as one of the most essential factors in the regulation of the hindlimb development. We previously confirmed pelvic fin loss in tbx4-knockout zebrafish. Here, we report a high-quality genome assembly of the Japanese eel (Anguilla japonica), which is an economically important fish without pelvic fins. The assembled genome is 1.13 Gb in size, with a scaffold N50 of 1.03 Mb. In addition, we collected 24 tbx4 sequences from 22 teleost fishes to explore the correlation between tbx4 and pelvic fin evolution. However, we observed complete exon structures of tbx4 in several pelvic-fin-loss species such as Ocean sunfish (Mola mola) and ricefield eel (Monopterus albus). More interestingly, an inversion of a special tbx4 gene cluster (brip1-tbx4-tbx2b- bcas3) occurred twice independently, which coincides with the presence of fin spines. A nonsynonymous mutation (M82L) was identified in the nuclear localization sequence (NLS) of the Japanese eel tbx4. We also examined variation and loss of hindlimb enhancer B (HLEB), which may account for pelvic fin loss in Tetraodontidae and Diodontidae. In summary, we generated a genome assembly of the Japanese eel, which provides a valuable genomic resource to study the evolution of fish tbx4 and helps elucidate the mechanism of pelvic fin loss in teleost fishes. Our comparative genomic studies, revealed for the first time a potential correlation between the tbx4 gene cluster and the evolutionary development of toxic fin spines. Because fin spines in teleosts are usually venoms, this tbx4 gene cluster may facilitate the genetic engineering of toxin-related marine drugs.
Project description:T-box gene Tbx4 is critical for the formation of the umbilicus and the initiation of the hindlimb. Previous studies show broad expression in the allantois, hindlimb, lung and proctodeum. We have examined the expression of Tbx4 in detail and used a Tbx4-Cre line to trace the fates of Tbx4-expressing cells. Tbx4 expression and lineage reveal that various distinct appendages, such as the allantois, hindlimb, and external genitalia, all arise from a single mesenchymal expression domain. Additionally, although Tbx4 is associated primarily with the hindlimb, we find two forelimb expression domains. Most notably, we find that, despite the requirement for Tbx4 in allantoic vasculogenesis, the presumptive endothelial cells of the allantois do not express Tbx4 and lineage tracing reveals that the umbilical vasculature never expresses Tbx4. These results suggest that endothelial lineages are segregated before the onset of vasculogenesis, and demonstrate a role for the peri-vascular tissue in vasculogenesis.
Project description:Small patella syndrome (SPS) is an autosomal-dominant skeletal dysplasia characterized by patellar aplasia or hypoplasia and by anomalies of the pelvis and feet, including disrupted ossification of the ischia and inferior pubic rami. We identified an SPS critical region of 5.6 cM on chromosome 17q22 by haplotype analysis. Putative loss-of-function mutations were found in a positional gene encoding T-box protein 4 (TBX4) in six families with SPS. TBX4 encodes a transcription factor with a strongly conserved DNA-binding T-box domain that is known to play a crucial role in lower limb development in chickens and mice. The present identification of heterozygous TBX4 mutations in SPS patients, together with the similar skeletal phenotype of animals lacking Tbx4, establish the importance of TBX4 in the developmental pathways of the lower limbs and the pelvis in humans.
Project description:The development of vertebrate extremities is a complex process which requires a highly coordinated network of different transcriptional activities. The homeodomain transcription factor Shox2 is a key player in limb formation controlling neural, muscular and skeletal development. Here, we compared gene expression profiles of wildtype and Shox2 knockout limbs using microarray experiments to identify Shox2 target genes. Limbs of E12.5 mouse embryos were dissected, fore- and hindlimbs were pooled and genotyped for RNA extraction. RNA from 3 embryos of 2 different pregnancies (in total 6 embryos) was pooled per genotype (Wildtype and Shox2 Knockout) and compared.
Project description:The development of vertebrate extremities is a complex process which requires a highly coordinated network of different transcriptional activities. The homeodomain transcription factor Shox2 is a key player in limb formation controlling neural, muscular and skeletal development. Here, we compared gene expression profiles of wildtype and Shox2 knockout limbs using microarray experiments to identify Shox2 target genes. Overall design: Limbs of E12.5 mouse embryos were dissected, fore- and hindlimbs were pooled and genotyped for RNA extraction. RNA from 3 embryos of 2 different pregnancies (in total 6 embryos) was pooled per genotype (Wildtype and Shox2 Knockout) and compared.
Project description:Clubfoot is a common birth defect characterized by inward posturing and rigid downward displacement of one or both feet. The etiology of syndromic forms of clubfoot is varied and the causes of isolated clubfoot are not well understood. A microduplication of 2.2 Mb on chromosome 17q23.1q23.2 which includes T-box 4 (TBX4), a hindlimb-specific gene, and 16 other genes was recently identified in 3 of 66 families reported as nonsyndromic clubfoot, but additional non-foot malformations place them in the syndromic clubfoot category. Our study assesses whether variation in or around TBX4 contributes to nonsyndromic clubfoot. To determine whether this microduplication was a common cause of nonsyndromic clubfoot, 605 probands (from 148 multiplex and 457 simplex families) with nonsyndromic clubfoot were evaluated by copy number and oligonucleotide array CGH testing modalities. Only one multiplex family (0.68%) that had 16 with clubfoot and 9 with other foot anomalies, had a 350 kb microduplication, which included the complete duplication of TBX4 and NACA2 and partial duplication of BRIP1. The microduplication was transmitted in an autosomal dominant pattern and all with the microduplication had a range of phenotypes from short wide feet and toes to bilateral clubfoot. Minimal evidence was found for an association between TBX4 and clubfoot and no pathogenic sequence variants were identified in the two known TBX4 hindlimb enhancer elements. Altogether, these results demonstrate that variation in and around the TBX4 gene and the 17q23.1q23.2 microduplication are not a frequent cause of this common orthopedic birth defect and narrows the 17q23.1q23.2 nonsyndromic clubfoot-associated region.
Project description:Paired fins/limbs are one of the most successful vertebrate innovations, since they are used for numerous fundamental activities, including locomotion, feeding, and breeding. Gene duplication events generate new genes with the potential to acquire novel functions, and two rounds of genome duplication took place during vertebrate evolution. The cephalochordate amphioxus diverged from other chordates before these events and is widely used to deduce the functions of ancestral genes, present in single copy in amphioxus, compared to the functions of their duplicated vertebrate orthologues. The T-box genes Tbx5 and Tbx4 encode two closely related transcription factors that are the earliest factors required to initiate forelimb and hind limb outgrowth, respectively. Since the genetic components proposed to be responsible for acquiring a trait during evolution are likely to be involved in the formation of that same trait in living organisms, we investigated whether the duplication of an ancestral, single Tbx4/5 gene to give rise to distinct Tbx4 and Tbx5 genes has been instrumental in the acquisition of limbs during vertebrate evolution. We analyzed whether the amphioxus Tbx4/5 gene is able to initiate limb outgrowth, and assayed the amphioxus locus for the presence of limb-forming regulatory regions. We show that AmphiTbx4/5 is able to initiate limb outgrowth and, in contrast, that the genomic locus lacks the regulatory modules required for expression that would result in limb formation. We propose that changes at the level of Tbx5 and Tbx4 expression, rather than the generation of novel protein function, have been necessary for the acquisition of paired appendages during vertebrate evolution.
Project description:The growth and development of the vertebrate limb relies on homeobox genes of the Hox and Shox families, with their independent mutation often giving dose-dependent effects. Here we investigate whether Shox2 and Hox genes function together during mouse limb development by modulating their relative dosage and examining the limb for nonadditive effects on growth. Using double mRNA fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) in single embryos, we first show that Shox2 and Hox genes have associated spatial expression dynamics, with Shox2 expression restricted to the proximal limb along with Hoxd9 and Hoxa11 expression, juxtaposing the distal expression of Hoxa13 and Hoxd13. By generating mice with all possible dosage combinations of mutant Shox2 alleles and HoxA/D cluster deletions, we then show that their coordinated proximal limb expression is critical to generate normally proportioned limb segments. These epistatic interactions tune limb length, where Shox2 underexpression enhances, and Shox2 overexpression suppresses, Hox-mutant phenotypes. Disruption of either Shox2 or Hox genes leads to a similar reduction in Runx2 expression in the developing humerus, suggesting their concerted action drives cartilage maturation during normal development. While we furthermore provide evidence that Hox gene function influences Shox2 expression, this regulation is limited in extent and is unlikely on its own to be a major explanation for their genetic interaction. Given the similar effect of human SHOX mutations on regional limb growth, Shox and Hox genes may generally function as genetic interaction partners during the growth and development of the proximal vertebrate limb.
Project description:The forelimbs and hindlimbs of vertebrates are morphologically distinct. Pitx1, expressed in the hindlimb bud mesenchyme, is required for the formation of hindlimb characteristics and produces hindlimb-like morphologies when misexpressed in forelimbs. Pitx1 is also necessary for normal expression of Tbx4, a transcription factor required for normal hindlimb development. Despite the importance of this protein in these processes, little is known about its mechanism of action. Using a transgenic gene replacement strategy in a Pitx1 mutant mouse, we have uncoupled two discrete functions of Pitx1. We show that, firstly, this protein influences hindlimb outgrowth by regulating Tbx4 expression levels and that, subsequently, it shapes hindlimb bone and soft tissue morphology independently of Tbx4. We provide the first description of how Pitx1 sculpts the forming hindlimb skeleton by localised modulation of the growth rate of discrete elements.
Project description:Tbx4 and Tbx5 are two closely related T-box genes that encode transcription factors expressed in the prospective hindlimb and forelimb territories, respectively, of all jawed vertebrates. Despite their striking limb type-restricted expression pattern, we have shown that these genes do not participate in the acquisition of limb type-specific morphologies. Instead, Tbx4 and Tbx5 play similar roles in the initiation of hindlimb and forelimb outgrowth, respectively. We hypothesized that different combinations of Hox proteins expressed in different rostral and caudal domains of the lateral plate mesoderm, where limb induction occurs, might be involved in regulating the limb type-restricted expression of Tbx4 and Tbx5 and in the later determination of limb type-specific morphologies. Here, we identify the minimal regulatory element sufficient for the earliest forelimb-restricted expression of the mouse Tbx5 gene and show that this sequence is Hox responsive. Our results support a mechanism in which Hox genes act upstream of Tbx5 to control the axial position of forelimb formation.