A Model of the Spatio-temporal Dynamics of Drosophila Eye Disc Development.
ABSTRACT: Patterning and growth are linked during early development and have to be tightly controlled to result in a functional tissue or organ. During the development of the Drosophila eye, this linkage is particularly clear: the growth of the eye primordium mainly results from proliferating cells ahead of the morphogenetic furrow (MF), a moving signaling wave that sweeps across the tissue from the posterior to the anterior side, that induces proliferating cells anterior to it to differentiate and become cell cycle quiescent in its wake. Therefore, final eye disc size depends on the proliferation rate of undifferentiated cells and on the speed with which the MF sweeps across the eye disc. We developed a spatio-temporal model of the growing eye disc based on the regulatory interactions controlled by the signals Decapentaplegic (Dpp), Hedgehog (Hh) and the transcription factor Homothorax (Hth) and explored how the signaling patterns affect the movement of the MF and impact on eye disc growth. We used published and new quantitative data to parameterize the model. In particular, two crucial parameter values, the degradation rate of Hth and the diffusion coefficient of Hh, were measured. The model is able to reproduce the linear movement of the MF and the termination of growth of the primordium. We further show that the model can explain several mutant phenotypes, but fails to reproduce the previously observed scaling of the Dpp gradient in the anterior compartment.
Project description:The compound eye of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is one of the most intensively studied and best understood model organs in the field of developmental genetics. Herein we demonstrate that autophagy, an evolutionarily conserved selfdegradation process of eukaryotic cells, is essential for eye development in this organism. Autophagic structures accumulate in a specific pattern in the developing eye disc, predominantly in the morphogenetic furrow (MF) and differentiation zone. Silencing of several autophagy genes (Atg) in the eye primordium severely affects the morphology of the adult eye through triggering ectopic cell death. In Atg mutant genetic backgrounds however genetic compensatory mechanisms largely rescue autophagic activity in, and thereby normal morphogenesis of, this organ. We also show that in the eye disc the expression of a key autophagy gene, Atg8a, is controlled in a complex manner by the anterior Hox paralog Lab (Labial), a master regulator of early development. Atg8a transcription is repressed in front of, while activated along, the MF by Lab. The amount of autophagic structures then remains elevated behind the moving MF. These results indicate that eye development in Drosophila depends on the cell death-suppressing and differentiating effects of the autophagic process. This novel, developmentally regulated function of autophagy in the morphogenesis of the compound eye may shed light on a more fundamental role for cellular self-digestion in differentiation and organ formation than previously thought. ABBREVIATIONS:?Tub84B, ?-Tubulin at 84B; Act5C, Actin5C; AO, acridine orange; Atg, autophagy-related; Ato, Atonal; CASP3, caspase 3; Dcr-2; Dicer-2; Dfd, Deformed; DZ, differentiation zone; eGFP, enhanced green fluorescent protein; EM, electron microscopy; exd, extradenticle; ey, eyeless; FLP, flippase recombinase; FRT, FLP recognition target; Gal4, gene encoding the yeast transcription activator protein GAL4; GFP, green fluorescent protein; GMR, Glass multimer reporter; Hox, homeobox; hth, homothorax; lab, labial; L3F, L3 feeding larval stage; L3W, L3 wandering larval stage; lf, loss-of-function; MAP1LC3, microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3; MF, morphogenetic furrow; PE, phosphatidylethanolamine; PBS, phosphate-buffered saline; PI3K/PtdIns3K, class III phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase; PZ, proliferation zone; Ref(2)P, refractory to sigma P, RFP, red fluorescent protein; RNAi, RNA interference; RpL32, Ribosomal protein L32; RT-PCR, reverse transcription-coupled polymerase chain reaction; S.D., standard deviation; SQSTM1, Sequestosome-1, Tor, Target of rapamycin; TUNEL, terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase mediated dUTP nick end labeling assay; UAS, upstream activation sequence; qPCR, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction; w, white.
Project description:The ability to express a gene of interest in a spatio-temporal manner using Gal4-UAS system has allowed the use of Drosophila model to study various biological phenomenon. During Drosophila eye development, a synchronous wave of differentiation called Morphogenetic furrow (MF) initiates at the posterior margin resulting in differentiation of retinal neurons. This synchronous differentiation is also observed in the differentiating retina of vertebrates. Since MF is highly dynamic, it can serve as an excellent model to study patterning and differentiation. However, there are not any Gal4 drivers available to observe the gain- of- function or loss- of- function of a gene specifically along the dynamic MF. The decapentaplegic (dpp) gene encodes a secreted protein of the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) superfamily that expresses at the posterior margin and then moves with the MF. However, unlike the MF associated pattern of dpp gene expression, the targeted dpp-Gal4 driver expression is restricted to the posterior margin of the developing eye disc. We screened GMR lines harboring regulatory regions of dpp fused with Gal4 coding region to identify MF specific enhancer of dpp using a GFP reporter gene. We employed immuno-histochemical approaches to detect gene expression. The rationale was that GFP reporter expression will correspond to the dpp expression domain in the developing eye. We identified two new dpp-Gal4 lines, viz., GMR17E04-Gal4 and GMR18D08-Gal4 that carry sequences from first intron region of dpp gene. GMR17E04-Gal4 drives expression along the MF during development and later in the entire pupal retina whereas GMR18D08-Gal4 drives expression of GFP transgene in the entire developing eye disc, which later drives expression only in the ventral half of the pupal retina. Thus, GMR18D08-Gal4 will serve as a new reagent for targeting gene expression in the ventral half of the pupal retina. We compared misexpression phenotypes of Wg, a negative regulator of eye development, using GMR17E04-Gal4, GMR18D08-Gal4 with existing dpp-Gal4 driver. The eye phenotypes generated by using our newly identified MF specific driver are not similar to the ones generated by existing dpp-Gal4 driver. It suggests that misexpression studies along MF needs revisiting using the new Gal4 drivers generated in our studies.
Project description:The compound eye of Drosophila melanogaster is configured by a differentiating wave, the morphogenetic furrow, that sweeps across the eye imaginal disc and transforms thousands of undifferentiated cells into a precisely ordered repetitive array of 800 ommatidia. The initiation of the furrow at the posterior margin of the epithelium and its subsequent movement across the eye field is controlled by the activity of the Hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway. Differentiating photoreceptors that lie behind the furrow produce and secrete the Hh morphogen, which is captured by cells within the furrow itself. This leads to the stabilization of the full-length form of the zinc-finger transcription factor Cubitus interruptus (Ci(155)), the main effector of Hh signaling. Ci(155) functions as a transcriptional activator of a number of downstream targets, including decapentaplegic (dpp), a TGF? homolog. In this report, we describe a mechanism that is in place within the fly retina to limit Hh pathway activity within and ahead of the furrow. We demonstrate that the helix-loop-helix (HLH) protein Extramacrochaetae (Emc) regulates Ci(155) levels. Loss of emc leads to an increase in Ci(155) levels, nuclear migration, apical cell constriction and an acceleration of the furrow. We find that these roles are distinct from the bHLH protein Hairy (H), which we show restricts atonal (ato) expression ahead of the furrow. Secondary furrow initiation along the dorsal and ventral margins is blocked by the activity of the Wingless (Wg) pathway. We also show that Emc regulates and cooperates with Wg signaling to inhibit lateral furrow initiation.
Project description:Regulation of the Drosophila ID protein Extra macrochaetae (Emc) is important because reduced Emc levels have been proposed to favor proneural gene activity and thereby define a prepattern for neurogenesis. Recent studies suggest a major role for post-translational control of Emc levels. To further define the mechanisms of Emc regulation, we identified two redundant cis-regulatory regions by germline transformation-rescue experiments that make use of new molecularly-defined emc mutants. We distinguished the mechanisms by which Daughterless (Da) regulated Emc expression, finding post-translational regulation in most tissues, and additional transcriptional regulation in the eye imaginal disc posterior to the morphogenetic furrow. Dpp and Hh signaling pathways repressed Emc transcriptionally and post-translationally within the morphogenetic furrow of the eye disc, whereas Wg signaling repressed Emc expression at the anterior margin of the wing imaginal disc. Although the emc 3' UTR is potentially regulatory, no effect of miRNA pathways on Emc protein levels was discernible. Our work supports recent evidence that post-transcriptional mechanisms contribute more to regulation of Emc protein levels than transcriptional mechanisms do.
Project description:The Drosophila eye-antenna imaginal disc (ead) is a flattened sac of two-layered epithelia, from which most head structures are derived. Secreted morphogens like Wingless (Wg), Hedgehog (Hh), and Decapentaplegic (Dpp) are important for early patterning of ead, but the underlying mechanisms are still largely unknown. To understand how these morphogens function in the ead of early larval stages, we used wg-LacZ and dpp-Gal4 markers for the examination of wild-type and mutant eads. We found that the ead immediately after hatching was crescent-shaped with the Bolwig's nerve at the ventral edge, suggesting that it consists of dorsal domain. In a subsequent step, transcriptional induction of dpp in the cells along the Bolwig's nerve was followed by rapid growth of the ventral domain. Both Wg and Hh were required for the formation of the ventral domain. Wg was crucial for the growth of the entire ead, but Hh was essential for cell division only in the dorsal domain. In the ventral domain, Hh regulated dpp transcription. Based on these data, we propose that signaling among distinct groups of cells expressing Wg, Dpp, or Hh in the ead of the first-instar larvae are critical for coordinated growth and patterning of ead.
Project description:In multicellular organisms, apoptotic cells induce compensatory proliferation of neighboring cells to maintain tissue homeostasis. In the Drosophila wing imaginal disc, dying cells trigger compensatory proliferation through secretion of the mitogens Decapentaplegic (Dpp) and Wingless (Wg). This process is under control of the initiator caspase Dronc, but not effector caspases. Here we show that a second mechanism of apoptosis-induced compensatory proliferation exists. This mechanism is dependent on effector caspases which trigger the activation of Hedgehog (Hh) signaling for compensatory proliferation. Furthermore, whereas Dpp and Wg signaling is preferentially employed in apoptotic proliferating tissues, Hh signaling is activated in differentiating eye tissues. Interestingly, effector caspases in photoreceptor neurons stimulate Hh signaling which triggers cell-cycle reentry of cells that had previously exited the cell cycle. In summary, dependent on the developmental potential of the affected tissue, different caspases trigger distinct forms of compensatory proliferation in an apparent nonapoptotic function.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The Hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway is important for the development of a variety of tissues in both vertebrates and invertebrates. For example, in developing nervous systems Hh signaling is required for the normal differentiation of neural progenitors into mature neurons. The molecular signaling mechanism underlying the function of Hh is not fully understood. In Drosophila, Ihog (Interference hedgehog) and Boi (Brother of Ihog) are related transmembrane proteins of the immunoglobulin superfamily (IgSF) with orthologs in vertebrates. Members of this IgSF subfamily have been shown to bind Hh and promote pathway activation but their exact role in the Hh signaling pathway has remained elusive. To better understand this role in vivo, we generated loss-of-function mutations of the ihog and boi genes, and investigated their effects in developing eye and wing imaginal discs.<h4>Results</h4>While mutation of either ihog or boi alone had no discernible effect on imaginal tissues, cells in the developing eye disc that were mutant for both ihog and boi failed to activate the Hh pathway, causing severe disruption of photoreceptor differentiation in the retina. In the anterior compartment of the developing wing disc, where different concentrations of the Hh morphogen elicit distinct cellular responses, cells mutant for both ihog and boi failed to activate responses at either high or low thresholds of Hh signaling. They also lost their affinity for neighboring cells and aberrantly sorted out from the anterior compartment of the wing disc into posterior territory. We found that ihog and boi are required for the accumulation of the essential Hh signaling mediator Smoothened (Smo) in Hh-responsive cells, providing evidence that Ihog and Boi act upstream of Smo in the Hh signaling pathway.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The consequences of boi;ihog mutations for eye development, neural differentiation and wing patterning phenocopy those of smo mutations and uncover an essential role for Ihog and Boi in the Hh signaling pathway.
Project description:During animal development, accurate control of tissue specification and growth are critical to generate organisms of reproducible shape and size. The eye-antennal disc epithelium of Drosophila is a powerful model system to identify the signaling pathway and transcription factors that mediate and coordinate these processes. We show here that the Yorkie (Yki) pathway plays a major role in tissue specification within the developing fly eye disc epithelium at a time when organ primordia and regional identity domains are specified. RNAi-mediated inactivation of Yki, or its partner Scalloped (Sd), or increased activity of the upstream negative regulators of Yki cause a dramatic reorganization of the eye disc fate map leading to specification of the entire disc epithelium into retina. On the contrary, constitutive expression of Yki suppresses eye formation in a Sd-dependent fashion. We also show that knockdown of the transcription factor Homothorax (Hth), known to partner Yki in some developmental contexts, also induces an ectopic retina domain, that Yki and Scalloped regulate Hth expression, and that the gain-of-function activity of Yki is partially dependent on Hth. Our results support a critical role for Yki- and its partners Sd and Hth--in shaping the fate map of the eye epithelium independently of its universal role as a regulator of proliferation and survival.
Project description:The Extradenticle (Exd) protein in Drosophila acts as a cofactor to homeotic proteins. Its nuclear localization is regulated. We report the cloning of the Drosophila homothorax (hth) gene, a homolog of the mouse Meis1 proto-oncogene that has a homeobox related to that of exd. Comparison with Meis1 finds two regions of high homology: a novel MH domain and the homeodomain. In imaginal discs, hth expression coincides with nuclear Exd. hth and exd also have virtually identical, mutant clonal phenotypes in adults. These results suggest that hth and exd function in the same pathway. We show that hth acts upstream of exd and is required and sufficient for Exd protein nuclear localization. We also show that hth and exd are both negative regulators of eye development; their mutant clones caused ectopic eye formation. Targeted expression of hth, but not of exd, in the eye disc abolished eye development completely. We suggest that hth acts with exd to delimit the eye field and prevent inappropriate eye development.
Project description:Drosophila dorsal air sac development depends on Decapentaplegic (Dpp) and Fibroblast growth factor (FGF) proteins produced by the wing imaginal disc and transported by cytonemes to the air sac primordium (ASP). Dpp and FGF signaling in the ASP was dependent on components of the planar cell polarity (PCP) system in the disc, and neither Dpp- nor FGF-receiving cytonemes extended over mutant disc cells that lacked them. ASP cytonemes normally navigate through extracellular matrix (ECM) composed of collagen, laminin, Dally and Dally-like (Dlp) proteins that are stratified in layers over the disc cells. However, ECM over PCP mutant cells had reduced levels of laminin, Dally and Dlp, and whereas Dpp-receiving ASP cytonemes navigated in the Dally layer and required Dally (but not Dlp), FGF-receiving ASP cytonemes navigated in the Dlp layer, requiring Dlp (but not Dally). These findings suggest that cytonemes interact directly and specifically with proteins in the stratified ECM.