Spatiotemporal oscillations of Notch1, Dll1 and NICD are coordinated across the mouse PSM.
ABSTRACT: During somitogenesis, epithelial somites form from the pre-somitic mesoderm (PSM) in a periodic manner. This periodicity is regulated by a molecular oscillator, known as the 'segmentation clock', that is characterised by an oscillatory pattern of gene expression that sweeps the PSM in a caudal-rostral direction. Key components of the segmentation clock are intracellular components of the Notch, Wnt and FGF pathways, and it is widely accepted that intracellular negative-feedback loops regulate oscillatory gene expression. However, an open question in the field is how intracellular oscillations are coordinated, in the form of spatiotemporal waves of expression, across the PSM. In this study, we provide a potential mechanism for this process. We show at the mRNA level that the Notch1 receptor and Delta-like 1 (Dll1) ligand vary dynamically across the PSM of both chick and mouse. Remarkably, we also demonstrate similar dynamics at the protein level; hence, the pathway components that mediate intercellular coupling themselves exhibit oscillatory dynamics. Moreover, we quantify the dynamic expression patterns of Dll1 and Notch1, and show they are highly correlated with the expression patterns of two known clock components [Lfng mRNA and the activated form of the Notch receptor (cleaved Notch intracellular domain, NICD)]. Lastly, we show that Notch1 is a target of Notch signalling, whereas Dll1 is Wnt regulated. Regulation of Dll1 and Notch1 expression thus links the activity of Wnt and Notch, the two main signalling pathways driving the clock.
Project description:Notch signaling in the presomitic mesoderm (psm) is critical for somite formation and patterning. Here, we show that WNT signals regulate transcription of the Notch ligand Dll1 in the tailbud and psm. LEF/TCF factors cooperate with TBX6 to activate transcription from the Dll1 promoter in vitro. Mutating either T or LEF/TCF sites in the Dll1 promoter abolishes reporter gene expression in vitro as well as in the tail bud and psm of transgenic embryos. Our results indicate that WNT activity, in synergy with TBX6, regulates Dll1 transcription and thereby controls Notch activity, somite formation, and patterning.
Project description:How signaling dynamics encode information is a central question in biology. During vertebrate development, dynamic Notch signaling oscillations control segmentation of the presomitic mesoderm (PSM). In mouse embryos, this molecular clock comprises signaling oscillations of several pathways, i.e., Notch, Wnt, and FGF signaling. Here, we directly address the role of the relative timing between Wnt and Notch signaling oscillations during PSM patterning. To this end, we developed a new experimental strategy using microfluidics-based entrainment that enables specific control of the rhythm of segmentation clock oscillations. Using this approach, we find that Wnt and Notch signaling are coupled at the level of their oscillation dynamics. Furthermore, we provide functional evidence that the oscillation phase shift between Wnt and Notch signaling is critical for PSM segmentation. Our work hence reveals that dynamic signaling, i.e., the relative timing between oscillatory signals, encodes essential information during multicellular development.
Project description:The Myc transcriptional regulators are implicated in a range of cellular functions, including proliferation, cell cycle progression, metabolism and pluripotency maintenance. Here, we investigated the expression, regulation and function of the Myc family during mouse embryonic axis elongation and segmentation. Expression of both <i>cMyc</i> (<i>Myc</i> - Mouse Genome Informatics) and <i>MycN</i> in the domains in which neuromesodermal progenitors (NMPs) and underlying caudal pre-somitic mesoderm (cPSM) cells reside is coincident with WNT and FGF signals, factors known to maintain progenitors in an undifferentiated state. Pharmacological inhibition of Myc activity downregulates expression of WNT/FGF components. In turn, we find that <i>cMyc</i> expression is WNT, FGF and Notch protein regulated, placing it centrally in the signalling circuit that operates in the tail end that both sustains progenitors and drives maturation of the PSM into somites. Interfering with Myc function in the PSM, where it displays oscillatory expression, delays the timing of segmentation clock oscillations and thus of somite formation. In summary, we identify Myc as a component that links NMP maintenance and PSM maturation during the body axis elongation stages of mouse embryogenesis.
Project description:Somite formation in the early stage of vertebrate embryonic development is controlled by a complicated gene network named segmentation clock, which is defined by the periodic expression of genes related to the Notch, Wnt, and the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) pathways. Although in recent years some findings about crosstalk among the Notch, Wnt, and FGF pathways in somitogenesis have been reported, the investigation of their crosstalk mechanisms from a systematic point of view is still lacking. In this study, a more comprehensive mathematical model was proposed to simulate the dynamics of the Notch, Wnt, and FGF pathways in the segmentation clock. Simulations and bifurcation analyses of this model suggested that the concentration gradients of both Wnt, and FGF signals along the presomitic mesoderm (PSM) are corresponding to the whole process from start to stop of the segmentation clock. A number of highly sensitive parameters to the segmentation clock's oscillatory pattern were identified. By further bifurcation analyses for these sensitive parameters, and several complementary mechanisms in respect of the maintenance of the stable oscillation of the segmentation clock were revealed.
Project description:Somites are formed progressively from the presomitic mesoderm (PSM) in a highly regulated process according to a strict periodicity driven by an oscillatory mechanism. The Notch and Wnt pathways are key components in the regulation of this somitic oscillator and data from Xenopus and zebrafish embryos indicate that the Notch-downstream target Nrarp participates in the regulation of both activities. We have analyzed Nrarp/nrarp-a expression in the PSM of chick, mouse and zebrafish embryos, and we show that it cycles in synchrony with other Notch regulated cyclic genes. In the mouse its transcription is both Wnt- and Notch-dependent, whereas in the chick and fish embryo it is simply Notch-dependent. Despite oscillating mRNA levels, Nrarp protein does not oscillate in the PSM. Finally, neither gain nor loss of Nrarp function interferes with the normal expression of Notch-related cyclic genes.
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:The Delta-Notch pathway is a signal exchanger between adjacent cells to regulate numerous differentiation steps during embryonic development. Blood vessel formation by sprouting angiogenesis requires high expression of the Notch ligand DLL4 in the leading tip cell, while Notch receptors in the trailing stalk cells are activated by DLL4 to achieve strong Notch signaling activity. Upon ligand binding, Notch receptors are cleaved by ADAM proteases and gamma-secretase. This releases the intracellular Notch domain that acts as a transcription factor. There is evidence that also Notch ligands (DLL1, DLL4, JAG1, JAG2) are processed upon receptor binding to influence transcription in the ligand-expressing cell. Thus, the existence of bi-directional Delta-Notch signaling has been proposed. We report here that the Notch ligands DLL1 and JAG1 are processed in endothelial cells in a gamma-secretase-dependent manner and that the intracellular ligand domains accumulate in the cell nucleus. Overexpression of JAG1 intracellular domain (ICD) as well as DLL1-ICD, DLL4-ICD and NOTCH1-ICD inhibited endothelial proliferation. Whereas NOTCH1-ICD strongly repressed endothelial migration and sprouting angiogenesis, JAG1-ICD, DLL1-ICD and DLL4-ICD had no significant effects. Consistently, global gene expression patterns were only marginally affected by the processed Notch ligands. In addition to its effects as a transcription factor, NOTCH1-ICD promotes cell adhesion to the extracellular matrix in a transcription-independent manner. However, JAG1-ICD, DLL1-ICD and DLL4-ICD did not influence endothelial cell adhesion. In summary, reverse signaling of Notch ligands appears to be dispensable for angiogenesis in cellular systems.
Project description:The segmented body plan of vertebrates is prefigured by reiterated embryonic mesodermal structures called somites. In the mouse embryo, timely somite formation from the presomitic mesoderm (PSM) is controlled by the "segmentation clock," a molecular oscillator that triggers progressive waves of Notch activity throughout the PSM. Notch clock activity is suppressed in the posterior PSM by FGF signaling until it crosses a determination front at which its net activity is sufficiently high to effect segmentation. Here, Notch and Wnt signaling directs somite anterior/posterior (A/P) polarity specification and boundary formation via regulation of the segmentation effector gene Mesoderm posterior 2. How Notch and Wnt signaling becomes coordinated at this front is incompletely defined. Here we show that the activity of the cAMP responsive element binding protein (CREB) family of transcription factors exhibits Wnt3a-dependent oscillatory behavior near the determination front and is in unison with Notch activity. Inhibition of CREB family in the mesoderm causes defects in somite segmentation and a loss in somite posterior polarity leading to fusions of vertebrae and ribs. Among the CREB family downstream genes, several are known to be regulated by Wnt3a. Of those, we show that the CREB family occupies a conserved binding site in the promoter region of Delta-like 1, encoding a Notch ligand, in the anterior PSM as a mechanism to specify posterior identity of somites. Together, these data support that the CREB family acts at the determination front to modulate Wnt signaling and strengthen Notch signaling as a means to orchestrate cells for somite segmentation and anterior/posterior patterning.
Project description:The segmentation of the vertebrate body is laid down during early embryogenesis. The formation of signaling gradients, the periodic expression of genes of the Notch-, Fgf- and Wnt-pathways and their interplay in the unsegmented presomitic mesoderm (PSM) precedes the rhythmic budding of nascent somites at its anterior end, which later develops into epithelialized structures, the somites. Although many in silico models describing partial aspects of somitogenesis already exist, simulations of a complete causal chain from gene expression in the growth zone via the interaction of multiple cells to segmentation are rare. Here, we present an enhanced gene regulatory network (GRN) for mice in a simulation program that models the growing PSM by many virtual cells and integrates WNT3A and FGF8 gradient formation, periodic gene expression and Delta/Notch signaling. Assuming Hes7 as core of the somitogenesis clock and LFNG as modulator, we postulate a negative feedback of HES7 on Dll1 leading to an oscillating Dll1 expression as seen in vivo. Furthermore, we are able to simulate the experimentally observed wave of activated NOTCH (NICD) as a result of the interactions in the GRN. We esteem our model as robust for a wide range of parameter values with the Hes7 mRNA and protein decays exerting a strong influence on the core oscillator. Moreover, our model predicts interference between Hes1 and HES7 oscillators when their intrinsic frequencies differ. In conclusion, we have built a comprehensive model of somitogenesis with HES7 as core oscillator that is able to reproduce many experimentally observed data in mice.
Project description:The vertebral column is a conserved anatomical structure that defines the vertebrate phylum. The periodic or segmental pattern of the vertebral column is established early in development when the vertebral precursors, the somites, are rhythmically produced from presomitic mesoderm (PSM). This rhythmic activity is controlled by a segmentation clock that is associated with the periodic transcription of cyclic genes in the PSM. Comparison of the mouse, chicken and zebrafish PSM oscillatory transcriptomes revealed networks of 40 to 100 cyclic genes mostly involved in Notch, Wnt and FGF signaling pathways. However, despite this conserved signaling oscillation, the identity of individual cyclic genes mostly differed between the three species, indicating a surprising evolutionary plasticity of the segmentation networks.