Gata6-Dependent GLI3 Repressor Function is Essential in Anterior Limb Progenitor Cells for Proper Limb Development.
ABSTRACT: Gli3 is a major regulator of Hedgehog signaling during limb development. In the anterior mesenchyme, GLI3 is proteolytically processed into GLI3R, a truncated repressor form that inhibits Hedgehog signaling. Although numerous studies have identified mechanisms that regulate Gli3 function in vitro, it is not completely understood how Gli3 function is regulated in vivo. In this study, we show a novel mechanism of regulation of GLI3R activities in limb buds by Gata6, a member of the GATA transcription factor family. We show that conditional inactivation of Gata6 prior to limb outgrowth by the Tcre deleter causes preaxial polydactyly, the formation of an anterior extra digit, in hindlimbs. A recent study suggested that Gata6 represses Shh transcription in hindlimb buds. However, we found that ectopic Hedgehog signaling precedes ectopic Shh expression. In conjunction, we observed Gata6 and Gli3 genetically interact, and compound heterozygous mutants develop preaxial polydactyly without ectopic Shh expression, indicating an additional prior mechanism to prevent polydactyly. These results support the idea that Gata6 possesses dual roles during limb development: enhancement of Gli3 repressor function to repress Hedgehog signaling in the anterior limb bud, and negative regulation of Shh expression. Our in vitro and in vivo studies identified that GATA6 physically interacts with GLI3R to facilitate nuclear localization of GLI3R and repressor activities of GLI3R. Both the genetic and biochemical data elucidates a novel mechanism by Gata6 to regulate GLI3R activities in the anterior limb progenitor cells to prevent polydactyly and attain proper development of the mammalian autopod.
Project description:Crucial roles for T-box3 in development are evident by severe limb malformations and other birth defects caused by T-box3 mutations in humans. Mechanisms whereby T-box3 regulates limb development are poorly understood. We discovered requirements for T-box at multiple stages of mouse limb development and distinct molecular functions in different tissue compartments. Early loss of T-box3 disrupts limb initiation, causing limb defects that phenocopy Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) mutants. Later ablation of T-box3 in posterior limb mesenchyme causes digit loss. In contrast, loss of anterior T-box3 results in preaxial polydactyly, as seen with dysfunction of primary cilia or Gli3-repressor. Remarkably, T-box3 is present in primary cilia where it colocalizes with Gli3. T-box3 interacts with Kif7 and is required for normal stoichiometry and function of a Kif7/Sufu complex that regulates Gli3 stability and processing. Thus, T-box3 controls digit number upstream of Shh-dependent (posterior mesenchyme) and Shh-independent, cilium-based (anterior mesenchyme) Hedgehog pathway function.
Project description:The mouse mutant Doublefoot (Dbf) shows preaxial polydactyly with 6-9 triphalangeal digits in all four limbs and additional abnormalities including a broadened skull, hydrocephalus, and a thickened, kinked tail. The autopod undergoes a characteristic expansion between late embryonic day (E) 10.5 and E11.5, following the onset of ectopic Indian hedgehog (Ihh) expression in the entire distal mesenchyme, except for the zone of polarising activity (ZPA), at E10.5. We show here that limb prepattern, as indicated by expression of Gli3 and Hand2 at E9.5 is unaffected by the mutation. As both Sonic hedgehog (Shh) and Ihh expression are present in Dbf limb buds at E10.5, we generated Dbf/(+);Shh(-/-) mutants to analyse the effects of different patterns of Hedgehog activity on the limb phenotype and molecular differentiation. Dbf/(+) embryos lacking Shh showed postaxial as well as preaxial polydactyly, and the Ihh expression domain extended posteriorly into the domain in which Shh is normally expressed, indicating loss of ZPA identity. Differences in gene expression patterns in wild type, single and compound mutants were associated with differences in Gli3 processing: an increased ratio of Gli3 activator to Gli3 repressor was observed in the anterior half of Dbf/(+) limb buds and in both anterior and posterior halves of compound mutant limb buds at E10.5. To identify the cause of Ihh misregulation in Dbf/(+) mutants, we sequenced approximately 20 kb of genomic DNA around Ihh but found no pathogenic changes. However, Southern blot analysis revealed a approximately 600 kb deletion disrupting or deleting 25 transcripts, starting 50 kb 5' of Ihh and extending away from the gene. The large deletion interval may explain the wide range of abnormalities in Dbf/(+) mutants. However, we did not detect anologous deletions in cases of Laurin-Sandrow syndrome, a human disorder that shows phenotypic similarities to Dbf.
Project description:In the limb bud, patterning along the anterior-posterior (A-P) axis is controlled by Sonic Hedgehog (Shh), a signaling molecule secreted by the "Zone of Polarizing Activity", an organizer tissue located in the posterior margin of the limb bud. We have found that the transcription factors GATA4 and GATA6, which are key regulators of cell identity, are expressed in an anterior to posterior gradient in the early limb bud, raising the possibility that GATA transcription factors may play an additional role in patterning this tissue. While both GATA4 and GATA6 are expressed in an A-P gradient in the forelimb buds, the hindlimb buds principally express GATA6 in an A-P gradient. Thus, to specifically examine the role of GATA6 in limb patterning we generated Prx1-Cre; GATA6(fl/fl) mice, which conditionally delete GATA6 from their developing limb buds. We found that these animals display ectopic expression of both Shh and its transcriptional targets specifically in the anterior mesenchyme of the hindlimb buds. Loss of GATA6 in the developing limbs results in the formation of preaxial polydactyly in the hindlimbs. Conversely, forced expression of GATA6 throughout the limb bud represses expression of Shh and results in hypomorphic limbs. We have found that GATA6 can bind to chromatin (isolated from limb buds) encoding either Shh or Gli1 regulatory elements that drive expression of these genes in this tissue, and demonstrated that GATA6 works synergistically with FOG co-factors to repress expression of luciferase reporters driven by these sequences. Most significantly, we have found that conditional loss of Shh in limb buds lacking GATA6 prevents development of hindlimb polydactyly in these compound mutant embryos, indicating that GATA6 expression in the anterior region of the limb bud blocks hindlimb polydactyly by repressing ectopic expression of Shh.
Project description:Limb anomalies are important birth defects that are incompletely understood genetically and mechanistically. GLI3, a mediator of hedgehog signaling, is a genetic cause of limb malformations including pre- and postaxial polydactyly, Pallister-Hall syndrome and Greig cephalopolysyndactyly. A closely related Gli (glioma-associated oncogene homolog)-superfamily member, ZIC3, causes X-linked heterotaxy syndrome in humans but has not been investigated in limb development. During limb development, post-translational processing of Gli3 from activator to repressor antagonizes and posteriorly restricts Sonic hedgehog (Shh). We demonstrate that Zic3 and Gli3 expression overlap in developing limbs and that Zic3 converts Gli3 from repressor to activator in vitro. In Gli3 mutant mice, Zic3 loss of function abrogates ectopic Shh expression in anterior limb buds, limits overexpression in the zone of polarizing activity and normalizes aberrant Gli3 repressor/Gli3 activator ratios observed in Gli3+/- embryos. Zic3 null;Gli3+/- neonates show rescue of the polydactylous phenotype seen in Gli3+/- animals. These studies identify a previously unrecognized role for Zic3 in regulating limb digit number via its modifying effect on Gli3 and Shh expression levels. Together, these results indicate that two Gli superfamily members that cause disparate human congenital malformation syndromes interact genetically and demonstrate the importance of Zic3 in regulating Shh pathway in developing limbs.
Project description:Anterior-posterior (AP) limb patterning is directed by sonic hedgehog (SHH) signaling from the posteriorly located zone of polarizing activity (ZPA). GLI3 and GLI2 are the transcriptional mediators generally utilized in SHH signaling, and each can function as an activator (A) and repressor (R). Although GLI3R has been suggested to be the primary effector of SHH signaling during limb AP patterning, a role for GLI3A or GLI2 has not been fully ruled out, nor has it been determined whether Gli3 plays distinct roles in limb development at different stages. By conditionally removing Gli3 in the limb at multiple different time points, we uncovered four Gli3-mediated functions in limb development that occur at distinct but partially over-lapping time windows: AP patterning of the proximal limb, AP patterning of the distal limb, regulation of digit number and bone differentiation. Furthermore, by removing Gli2 in Gli3 temporal conditional knock-outs, we uncovered an essential role for Gli2 in providing the remaining posterior limb patterning seen in Gli3 single mutants. To test whether GLIAs or GLIRs regulate different aspects of AP limb patterning and/or digit number, we utilized a knock-in allele in which GLI1, which functions solely as an activator, is expressed in place of the bifunctional GLI2 protein. Interestingly, we found that GLIAs contribute to AP patterning specifically in the posterior limb, whereas GLIRs predominantly regulate anterior patterning and digit number. Since GLI3 is a more effective repressor, our results explain why GLI3 is required only for anterior limb patterning and why GLI2 can compensate for GLI3A in posterior limb patterning. Taken together, our data suggest that establishment of a complete range of AP positional identities in the limb requires integration of the spatial distribution, timing, and dosage of GLI2 and GLI3 activators and repressors.
Project description:Mutations in GLI3, which encodes a transcription factor of the Hedgehog signaling pathway, cause several developmental anomalies linked to inappropriate tissue patterning. Here, we report a novel missense variant in the fifth zinc finger domain of GLI3 (c.1826G>A; p.(Cys609Tyr)) initially identified in a proband with preaxial polydactyly type IV, developmental delay, sensorineural hearing loss, skeletal, and genitourinary anomalies. Additional family members exhibited various digital anomalies such as preaxial polydactyly, syndactyly, and postaxial polydactyly either in isolation or combined. Functional studies of Cys609Tyr GLI3 in cultured cells showed abnormal GLI3 processing leading to decreased GLI3 repressor production, increased basal transcriptional activity, and submaximal GLI reporter activity with Hedgehog pathway activation, thus demonstrating an intriguing molecular mechanism for this GLI3-related phenotype. Given the complexity of GLI3 post-translational processing and opposing biological functions as a transcriptional activator and repressor, our findings highlight the importance of performing functional studies of presumed GLI3 variants. This family also demonstrates how GLI3 variants are variably expressed.
Project description:Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) is a ventrally enriched morphogen controlling dorsoventral patterning of the neural tube. In the dorsal spinal cord, Gli3 protein bound to suppressor-of-fused (Sufu) is converted into Gli3 repressor (Gli3R), which inhibits Shh-target genes. Activation of Shh signalling prevents Gli3R formation, promoting neural tube ventralization. We show that cadherin-7 (Cdh7) expression in the intermediate spinal cord region is required to delimit the boundary between the ventral and the dorsal spinal cord. We demonstrate that Cdh7 functions as a receptor for Shh and enhances Shh signalling. Binding of Shh to Cdh7 promotes its aggregation on the cell membrane and association of Cdh7 with Gli3 and Sufu. These interactions prevent Gli3R formation and cause Gli3 protein degradation. We propose that Shh can act through Cdh7 to limit intracellular movement of Gli3 protein and production of Gli3R, thus eliciting more efficient activation of Gli-dependent signalling.
Project description:The anterior-posterior patterning of the vertebrate limb bud requires closely coordinated signaling interactions, including Sonic Hedgehog (Shh)-mediated counteraction of the Gli3 transcription factor in the distal and posterior mesenchyme of the limb bud. Suppressor of Fused (Sufu), an intracellular negative regulator of Shh signaling via Gli2 and Gli3, is implicated in early development of the mouse limb bud. However, how Sufu is involved in the genetic regulation of limb bud patterning still remains elusive. In this study, we show that the conditional deletion of Sufu in the mesenchyme of the early limb bud results in polydactyly with loss of digit identity and supernumerary bones in the wrist and the ankle. These pattern alterations are associated with anterior expansion of HoxD genes located at the 5' end of the cluster. By focusing on gene expression analysis of Shh/Gremlin1/Fgf signaling critical for the establishment and maintenance of anterior-posterior patterning, we show that early response to loss of Sufu involves anterior prolongation of Fgf4 and Fgf8 expression in the apical ectodermal ridge at E10.5. We also reveal the anterior activation of Shh-dependent posterior markers Ptc1, Gli1 and Gremlin in limb buds lacking Sufu. Furthermore, we find that loss of Sufu leads to attenuated levels of repressor Gli2 and repressor Gli3 in the early limb bud. Moreover, expression of Hand2 is activated in the entire limb bud at the early outgrowth stage in the mutant lacking Sufu. Thus, we provide evidence that Sufu is involved in the genetic network that restricts the posterior expression of Gli2/3/Hand2 and Gremlin/Fgf in limb bud patterning.
Project description:Anterior-posterior (A/P) limb patterning in vertebrates is determined by the counteraction between the Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) and the Gli3 transcription factor. Shh exerts its effect on Gli3 by regulating the full-length Gli3 protein processing to generate a Gli3 repressor gradient along the A/P axis of the limb. However, it is not clear whether the full-length Gli3 is an activator in vivo and plays any role in the limb patterning. Here we show that mouse limbs expressing only a Gli3 repressor form exhibit mild polysyndactyly and a partial loss of digit identity, while limbs expressing only a full-length Gli3 protein display severe polysyndactyly and a complete loss of digit identity. Interestingly, when the full-length Gli3 and the repressor are equally expressed in the limb, the digit patterning is overall normal except for an extra anterior digit. Furthermore, in the presence of one Gli3 wild type allele, a Gli3 mutant allele that expresses only the full-length form can rescue the Shh mutant digit phenotype to a great extent. The full-length Gli3 protein can also activate Shh target gene expression without Shh. Thus, our data indicate that the full-length Gli3 protein is an activator in vivo and that the ratio of the Gli3 activator to repressor, but neither the Gli3 repressor gradient nor the Gli3 activator/repressor ratio gradient, determines limb digit patterning.
Project description:Inactivation of Gli3, a key component of Hedgehog signaling in vertebrates, results in formation of additional digits (polydactyly) during limb bud development. The analysis of mouse embryos constitutively lacking Gli3 has revealed the essential GLI3 functions in specifying the anteroposterior (AP) limb axis and digit identities. We conditionally inactivated Gli3 during mouse hand plate development, which uncoupled the resulting preaxial polydactyly from known GLI3 functions in establishing AP and digit identities. Our analysis revealed that GLI3 directly restricts the expression of regulators of the G(1)-S cell-cycle transition such as Cdk6 and constrains S phase entry of digit progenitors in the anterior hand plate. Furthermore, GLI3 promotes the exit of proliferating progenitors toward BMP-dependent chondrogenic differentiation by spatiotemporally restricting and terminating the expression of the BMP antagonist Gremlin1. Thus, Gli3 is a negative regulator of the proliferative expansion of digit progenitors and acts as a gatekeeper for the exit to chondrogenic differentiation.