Analyses of Sox-B and Sox-E Family Genes in the Cephalopod Sepia officinalis: Revealing the Conserved and the Unusual.
ABSTRACT: Cephalopods provide an unprecedented opportunity for comparative studies of the developmental genetics of organ systems that are convergent with analogous vertebrate structures. The Sox-family of transcription factors is an important class of DNA-binding proteins that are known to be involved in many aspects of differentiation, but have been largely unstudied in lophotrochozoan systems. Using a degenerate primer strategy we have isolated coding sequence for three members of the Sox family of transcription factors from a cephalopod mollusk, the European cuttlefish Sepia officinalis: Sof-SoxE, Sof-SoxB1, and Sof-SoxB2. Analyses of their expression patterns during organogenesis reveals distinct spatial and temporal expression domains. Sof-SoxB1 shows early ectodermal expression throughout the developing epithelium, which is gradually restricted to presumptive sensory epithelia. Expression within the nervous system appears by mid-embryogenesis. Sof-SoxB2 expression is similar to Sof-SoxB1 within the developing epithelia in early embryogenesis, however appears in largely non-overlapping expression domains within the central nervous system and is not expressed in the maturing sensory epithelium. In contrast, Sof-SoxE is expressed throughout the presumptive mesodermal territories at the onset of organogenesis. As development proceeds, Sof-SoxE expression is elevated throughout the developing peripheral circulatory system. This expression disappears as the circulatory system matures, but expression is maintained within undifferentiated connective tissues throughout the animal, and appears within the nervous system near the end of embryogenesis. SoxB proteins are widely known for their role in neural specification in numerous phylogenetic lineages. Our data suggests that Sof-SoxB genes play similar roles in cephalopods. In contrast, Sof-SoxE appears to be involved in the early stages of vasculogenesis of the cephalopod closed circulatory system, a novel role for a member of this gene family.
Project description:Group B of the Sox transcription factor family is crucial in embryo development in the insects and vertebrates. Sox group B, unlike the other Sox groups, has an unusually enlarged functional repertoire in insects, but the timing and mechanism of the expansion of this group were unclear. We collected and analyzed data for Sox group B from 36 species of 12 phyla representing the major metazoan clades, with an emphasis on arthropods, to reconstruct the evolutionary history of SoxB in bilaterians and to date the expansion of Sox group B in insects. We found that the genome of the bilaterian last common ancestor probably contained one SoxB1 and one SoxB2 gene only and that tandem duplications of SoxB2 occurred before the arthropod diversification but after the arthropod-nematode divergence, resulting in the basal repertoire of Sox group B in diverse arthropod lineages. The arthropod Sox group B repertoire expanded differently from the vertebrate repertoire, which resulted from genome duplications. The parallel increases in the Sox group B repertoires of the arthropods and vertebrates are consistent with the parallel increases in the complexity and diversification of these two important organismal groups.
Project description:The Asian clam, Corbicula fluminea, is a commonly consumed small freshwater bivalve in East Asia. However, available genetic information of this clam is still limited. In this study, the transcriptome of female C. fluminea was sequenced using the Illumina HiSeq 2500 platform. A total of 89,563 unigenes were assembled with an average length of 859 bp, and 36.7% of them were successfully annotated. Six members of Sox gene family namely SoxB1, SoxB2, SoxC, SoxD, SoxE and SoxF were identified. Based on these genes, the divergence time of C. fluminea was estimated to be around 476 million years ago. Furthermore, a total of 3,117 microsatellites were detected with a distribution density of 1:12,960 bp. Fifty of these microsatellites were randomly selected for validation, and 45 of them were successfully amplified with 31 polymorphic ones. The data obtained in this study will provide useful information for future genetic and genomic studies in C. fluminea.
Project description:SOX14 is a member of the SOXB2 subgroup of transcription factors implicated in neural development. Although the first SOX14 gene in vertebrates was cloned and characterized more than a decade ago and its expression profile during development was revealed in various animal model systems, the role of this gene during neural development is largely unknown. In the present study we analyzed the expression of SOX14 in human NT2/D1 and mouse P19 pluripotent embryonal carcinoma cells. We demonstrated that it is expressed in both cell lines and upregulated during retinoic acid induced neural differentiation. We showed that SOX14 was expressed in both neuronal and non-neuronal differentiated derivatives, as revealed by immunocytochemistry. Since it was previously proposed that increased SOXB2 proteins level interfere with the activity of SOXB1 counteracting partners, we compared expression patterns of SOXB members during retinoic acid induction of embryonal carcinoma cells. We revealed that upregulation of SOX14 expression is accompanied by alterations in the expression patterns of SOXB1 members. In order to analyze the potential cross-talk between them, we generated SOX14 expression construct. The ectopic expression of SOX14 was demonstrated at the mRNA level in NT2/D1, P19 and HeLa cells, while an increased level of SOX14 protein was detected in HeLa cells only. By transient transfection experiments in HeLa cells we showed for the first time that ectopic expression of SOX14 repressed SOX1 expression, whereas no significant effect on SOX2, SOX3 and SOX21 was observed. Data presented here provide an insight into SOX14 expression during in vitro neural differentiation of embryonal carcinoma cells and demonstrate the effect of its ectopic expression on protein levels of SOXB members in HeLa cells. Obtained results contribute to better understanding the role of one of the most conserved SOX proteins.
Project description:Neurogenesis involves deeply conserved patterning molecules, such as the proneural basic helix-loop-helix transcription factors. Sox proteins and specifically members of the SoxB and SoxC groups are another class of conserved transcription factors with an important role in neuronal fate commitment and differentiation in various species. In this study, we examine the expression of all five Sox genes of the nematode C. elegans and analyze the effect of null mutant alleles of all members of the SoxB and SoxC groups on nervous system development. Surprisingly, we find that, unlike in other systems, neither of the two C. elegans SoxB genes sox-2 (SoxB1) and sox-3 (SoxB2), nor the sole C. elegans SoxC gene sem-2, is broadly expressed throughout the embryonic or adult nervous system and that all three genes are mostly dispensable for embryonic neurogenesis. Instead, sox-2 is required to maintain the developmental potential of blast cells that are generated in the embryo but divide only postembryonically to give rise to differentiated neuronal cell types. Moreover, sox-2 and sox-3 have selective roles in the terminal differentiation of specific neuronal cell types. Our findings suggest that the common themes of SoxB gene function across phylogeny lie in specifying developmental potential and, later on, in selectively controlling terminal differentiation programs of specific neuron types, but not in broadly controlling neurogenesis.
Project description:SoxB transcription factors and histone deacetylases (HDACs) are each major players in the regulation of neurogenesis, but a functional link between them has not been previously demonstrated. Here, we show that SoxB2 and Hdac2 act together to regulate neurogenesis in the cnidarian Hydractinia echinata during tissue homeostasis and head regeneration. We find that misexpression of SoxB genes modifies the number of neural cells in all life stages and interferes with head regeneration. Hdac2 was co-expressed with SoxB2, and its downregulation phenocopied SoxB2 knockdown. We also show that SoxB2 and Hdac2 promote each other's transcript levels, but Hdac2 counteracts this amplification cycle by deacetylating and destabilizing SoxB2 protein. Finally, we present evidence for conservation of these interactions in human neural progenitors. We hypothesize that crosstalk between SoxB transcription factors and Hdac2 is an ancient feature of metazoan neurogenesis and functions to stabilize the correct levels of these multifunctional proteins.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The Sox gene family of transcriptional regulators have essential roles during development and have been extensively studied in vertebrates. The mouse, human and fugu genomes contain at least 20 Sox genes, which are subdivided into groups based on sequence similarity of the highly conserved HMG domain. In the well-studied insect Drosophila melanogaster, eight Sox genes have been identified and are involved in processes such as neurogenesis, dorsal-ventral patterning and segmentation. RESULTS: We examined the available genome sequences of Apis mellifera, Nasonia vitripennis, Tribolium castaneum, Anopheles gambiae and identified Sox family members which were classified by phylogenetics using the HMG domains. Using in situ hybridisation we determined the expression patterns of eight honeybee Sox genes in honeybee embryo, adult brain and queen ovary. AmSoxB group genes were expressed in the nervous system, brain and Malphigian tubules. The restricted localization of AmSox21b and AmSoxB1 mRNAs within the oocyte, suggested a role in, or that they are regulated by, dorsal-ventral patterning. AmSoxC, D and F were expressed ubiquitously in late embryos and in the follicle cells of the queen ovary. Expression of AmSoxF and two AmSoxE genes was detected in the drone testis. CONCLUSION: Insect genomes contain between eight and nine Sox genes, with at least four members belonging to Sox group B and other Sox subgroups each being represented by a single Sox gene. Hymenopteran insects have an additional SoxE gene, which may have arisen by gene duplication. Expression analyses of honeybee SoxB genes implies that this group of genes may be able to rapidly evolve new functions and expression domains, while the combined expression pattern of all the SoxB genes is maintained.
Project description:Background:Current studies in evolutionary developmental biology are focused on the reconstruction of gene regulatory networks in target animal species. From decades, the scientific interest on genetic mechanisms orchestrating embryos development has been increasing in consequence to the fact that common features shared by evolutionarily distant phyla are being clarified. In 2011, a study across eumetazoan species showed for the first time the existence of a highly conserved non-coding element controlling the SoxB2 gene, which is involved in the early specification of the nervous system. This discovery raised several questions about SoxB2 function and regulation in deuterostomes from an evolutionary point of view. Results:Due to the relevant phylogenetic position within deuterostomes, the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus purpuratus represents an advantageous animal model in the field of evolutionary developmental biology. Herein, we show a comprehensive study of SoxB2 functions in sea urchins, in particular its expression pattern in a wide range of developmental stages, and its co-localization with other neurogenic markers, as SoxB1, SoxC and Elav. Moreover, this work provides a detailed description of the phenotype of sea urchin SoxB2 knocked-down embryos, confirming its key function in neurogenesis and revealing, for the first time, its additional roles in oral and aboral ectoderm cilia and skeletal rod morphology. Conclusions:We concluded that SoxB2 in sea urchins has a neurogenic function; however, this gene could have multiple roles in sea urchin embryogenesis, expanding its expression in non-neurogenic cells. We showed that SoxB2 is functionally conserved among deuterostomes and suggested that in S. purpuratus this gene acquired additional functions, being involved in ciliogenesis and skeletal patterning.
Project description:Members of the SoxB transcription factor family play critical roles in the regulation of neurogenesis. The SoxB1 proteins are required for the induction and maintenance of a proliferating neural progenitor population in numerous vertebrates, however the role of the SoxB2 protein, Sox21, is less clear due to conflicting results. To clarify the role of Sox21 in neurogenesis, we examined its function in the Xenopus neural plate. Here we report that misexpression of Sox21 expands the neural progenitor domain, and represses neuron formation by binding to Neurogenin (Ngn2) and blocking its function. Conversely, we found that Sox21 is also required for neuron formation, as cells lacking Sox21 undergo cell death and thus are unable to differentiate. Together our data indicate that Sox21 plays more than one role in neurogenesis, where a threshold level is required for cell viability and normal differentiation of neurons, but a higher concentration of Sox21 inhibits neuron formation and instead promotes progenitor maintenance.
Project description:Cephalopod mollusks possess a number of anatomical traits that often parallel vertebrates in morphological complexity, including a centralized nervous system with sophisticated cognitive functionality. Very little is known about the genetic mechanisms underlying patterning of the cephalopod embryo to arrive at this anatomical structure. Homeodomain (HD) genes are transcription factors that regulate transcription of downstream genes through DNA binding, and as such are integral parts of gene regulatory networks controlling the specification and patterning of body parts across lineages. We have used a degenerate primer strategy to isolate homeobox genes active during late-organogenesis from the European cuttlefish Sepia officinalis. With this approach we have isolated fourteen HD gene fragments and examine the expression profiles of five of these genes during late stage (E24-28) embryonic development (Sof-Gbx, Sof-Hox3, Sof-Arx, Sof-Lhx3/4, Sof-Vsx). All five genes are expressed within the developing central nervous system in spatially restricted and largely non-overlapping domains. Our data provide a first glimpse into the diversity of HD genes in one of the largest, yet least studied, metazoan clades and illustrate how HD gene expression patterns reflect the functional partitioning of the cephalopod brain.
Project description:Studies proposed a model for embryonic neurogenesis where the expression levels of the SOXB2 and SOXB1 factors regulate the differentiation status of the neural stem cells. However, the precise role of the SOXB2 genes remains controversial. Therefore, this study aims to investigate the effects of individual deletions of the <i>SOX21</i> and <i>SOX14</i> genes during the development of the dorsal midbrain. We show that SOX21 and SOX14 function distinctly during the commitment of the GABAergic lineage. More explicitly, deletion of <i>SOX21</i> reduced the expression of the GABAergic precursor marker GATA3 and BHLHB5 while the expression of GAD6, which marks GABAergic terminal differentiation, was not affected. In contrast deletion of <i>SOX14</i> alone was sufficient to inhibit terminal differentiation of the dorsal midbrain GABAergic neurons. Furthermore, we demonstrate through gain-of-function experiments, that despite the homology of <i>SOX21</i> and <i>SOX14</i>, they have unique gene targets and cannot compensate for the loss of each other. Taken together, these data do not support a pan-neurogenic function for <i>SOXB2</i> genes in the dorsal midbrain, but instead they influence, sequentially, the specification of GABAergic neurons.