Lineage-specific duplication of amphioxus retinoic acid degrading enzymes (CYP26) resulted in sub-functionalization of patterning and homeostatic roles.
ABSTRACT: During embryogenesis, tight regulation of retinoic acid (RA) availability is fundamental for normal development. In parallel to RA synthesis, a negative feedback loop controlled by RA catabolizing enzymes of the cytochrome P450 subfamily 26 (CYP26) is crucial. In vertebrates, the functions of the three CYP26 enzymes (CYP26A1, CYP26B1, and CYP26C1) have been well characterized. By contrast, outside vertebrates, little is known about CYP26 complements and their biological roles. In an effort to characterize the evolutionary diversification of RA catabolism, we studied the CYP26 genes of the cephalochordate amphioxus (Branchiostoma lanceolatum), a basal chordate with a vertebrate-like genome that has not undergone the massive, large-scale duplications of vertebrates.In the present study, we found that amphioxus also possess three CYP26 genes (CYP26-1, CYP26-2, and CYP26-3) that are clustered in the genome and originated by lineage-specific duplication. The amphioxus CYP26 cluster thus represents a useful model to assess adaptive evolutionary changes of the RA signaling system following gene duplication. The characterization of amphioxus CYP26 expression, function, and regulation by RA signaling demonstrated that, despite the independent origins of CYP26 duplicates in amphioxus and vertebrates, they convergently assume two main roles during development: RA-dependent patterning and protection against fluctuations of RA levels. Our analysis suggested that in amphioxus RA-dependent patterning is sustained by CYP26-2, while RA homeostasis is mediated by CYP26-1 and CYP26-3. Furthermore, comparisons of the regulatory regions of CYP26 genes of different bilaterian animals indicated that a CYP26-driven negative feedback system was present in the last common ancestor of deuterostomes, but not in that of bilaterians.Altogether, this work reveals the evolutionary origins of the RA-dependent regulation of CYP26 genes and highlights convergent functions for CYP26 enzymes that originated by independent duplication events, hence establishing a novel selective mechanism for the genomic retention of gene duplicates.
Project description:All vertebrate brains develop following a common Bauplan defined by anteroposterior (AP) and dorsoventral (DV) subdivisions, characterized by largely conserved differential expression of gene markers. However, it is still unclear how this Bauplan originated during evolution. We studied the relative expression of 48 genes with key roles in vertebrate neural patterning in a representative amphioxus embryonic stage. Unlike nonchordates, amphioxus develops its central nervous system (CNS) from a neural plate that is homologous to that of vertebrates, allowing direct topological comparisons. The resulting genoarchitectonic model revealed that the amphioxus incipient neural tube is unexpectedly complex, consisting of several AP and DV molecular partitions. Strikingly, comparison with vertebrates indicates that the vertebrate thalamus, pretectum, and midbrain domains jointly correspond to a single amphioxus region, which we termed Di-Mesencephalic primordium (DiMes). This suggests that these domains have a common developmental and evolutionary origin, as supported by functional experiments manipulating secondary organizers in zebrafish and mice.
Project description:Aldehyde dehydrogenases (ALDHs) catabolize toxic aldehydes and process the vitamin A-derived retinaldehyde into retinoic acid (RA), a small diffusible molecule and a pivotal chordate morphogen. In this study, we combine phylogenetic, structural, genomic, and developmental gene expression analyses to examine the evolutionary origins of ALDH substrate preference. Structural modeling reveals that processing of small aldehydes, such as acetaldehyde, by ALDH2, versus large aldehydes, including retinaldehyde, by ALDH1A is associated with small versus large substrate entry channels (SECs), respectively. Moreover, we show that metazoan ALDH1s and ALDH2s are members of a single ALDH1/2 clade and that during evolution, eukaryote ALDH1/2s often switched between large and small SECs after gene duplication, transforming constricted channels into wide opened ones and vice versa. Ancestral sequence reconstructions suggest that during the evolutionary emergence of RA signaling, the ancestral, narrow-channeled metazoan ALDH1/2 gave rise to large ALDH1 channels capable of accommodating bulky aldehydes, such as retinaldehyde, supporting the view that retinoid-dependent signaling arose from ancestral cellular detoxification mechanisms. Our analyses also indicate that, on a more restricted evolutionary scale, ALDH1 duplicates from invertebrate chordates (amphioxus and ascidian tunicates) underwent switches to smaller and narrower SECs. When combined with alterations in gene expression, these switches led to neofunctionalization from ALDH1-like roles in embryonic patterning to systemic, ALDH2-like roles, suggesting functional shifts from signaling to detoxification.
Project description:This review focuses on the role of the Cytochrome p450 subfamily 26 (CYP26) retinoic acid (RA) degrading enzymes during development and regeneration. Cyp26 enzymes, along with retinoic acid synthesising enzymes, are absolutely required for RA homeostasis in these processes by regulating availability of RA for receptor binding and signalling. Cyp26 enzymes are necessary to generate RA gradients and to protect specific tissues from RA signalling. Disruption of RA homeostasis leads to a wide variety of embryonic defects affecting many tissues. Here, the function of CYP26 enzymes is discussed in the context of the RA signalling pathway, enzymatic structure and biochemistry, human genetic disease, and function in development and regeneration as elucidated from animal model studies.
Project description:Retinoic acid (RA) is a potent regulator of gene transcription via its activation of a set of nuclear receptors controlling transcriptional activation. Precise maintenance of where and when RA is generated is essential and achieved by local expression of synthetic and catabolic enzymes. The catabolic enzymes Cyp26a1 and Cyp26b1 have been studied in detail in the embryo, where they limit gradients of RA that form patterns of gene expression, crucial for morphogenesis. This paracrine role of RA has been assumed to occur in most tissues and that the RA synthetic enzymes release RA at a site distant from the catabolic enzymes. In contrast to the embryonic CNS, relatively little is known about RA metabolism in the adult brain. This study investigated the distribution of Cyp26a1 and Cyp26b1 transcripts in the rat brain, identifying several novel regions of expression, including the cerebral cortex for both enzymes and striatum for Cyp26b1. In vivo use of a new and potent inhibitor of the Cyp26 enzymes, ser 2-7, demonstrated a function for endogenous Cyp26 in the brain and that hippocampal RA levels can be raised by ser 2-7, altering the effect of RA on differential patterning of cell proliferation in the hippocampal region of neurogenesis, the subgranular zone. The expression of CYP26A1 and CYP26B1 was also investigated in the adult human brain and colocalization of CYP26A1 and the RA synthetic enzyme RALDH2 indicated a different, autocrine role for RA in human hippocampal neurons. Studies with the SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cell line implied that the co-expression of RA synthetic and catabolic enzymes maintains retinoid homeostasis within neurons. This presents a novel view of RA in human neurons as part of an autocrine, intracellular signaling system.
Project description:Normal heart development requires appropriate levels of retinoic acid (RA) signaling. RA levels in embryos are dampened by Cyp26 enzymes, which metabolize RA into easily degraded derivatives. Loss of Cyp26 function in humans is associated with numerous developmental syndromes that include cardiovascular defects. Although previous studies have shown that Cyp26-deficient vertebrate models also have cardiovascular defects, the mechanisms underlying these defects are not understood. Here, we found that in zebrafish, two Cyp26 enzymes, Cyp26a1 and Cyp26c1, are expressed in the anterior lateral plate mesoderm (ALPM) and predominantly overlap with vascular progenitors (VPs). Although singular knockdown of Cyp26a1 or Cyp26c1 does not overtly affect cardiovascular development, double Cyp26a1 and Cyp26c1 (referred to here as Cyp26)-deficient embryos have increased atrial cells and reduced cranial vasculature cells. Examining the ALPM using lineage tracing indicated that in Cyp26-deficient embryos the myocardial progenitor field contains excess atrial progenitors and is shifted anteriorly into a region that normally solely gives rise to VPs. Although Cyp26 expression partially overlaps with VPs in the ALPM, we found that Cyp26 enzymes largely act cell non-autonomously to promote appropriate cardiovascular development. Our results suggest that localized expression of Cyp26 enzymes cell non-autonomously defines the boundaries between the cardiac and VP fields within the ALPM through regulating RA levels, which ensures a proper balance of myocardial and endothelial lineages. Our study provides novel insight into the earliest consequences of Cyp26 deficiency that underlie cardiovascular malformations in vertebrate embryos.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:The vertebrate head is characterized by unsegmented head mesoderm the evolutionary origin of which remains enigmatic. The head mesoderm is derived from the rostral part of the dorsal mesoderm, which is regionalized anteroposteriorly during gastrulation. The basal chordate amphioxus resembles vertebrates due to the presence of somites, but it lacks unsegmented head mesoderm. Gastrulation in amphioxus occurs by simple invagination with little mesodermal involution, whereas in vertebrates gastrulation is organized by massive cell movements, such as involution, convergence and extension, and cell migration. RESULTS:To identify key developmental events in the evolution of the vertebrate head mesoderm, we compared anterior/posterior (A/P) patterning mechanisms of the dorsal mesoderm in amphioxus and vertebrates. The dorsal mesodermal genes gsc, bra, and delta are expressed in similar patterns in early embryos of both animals, but later in development, these expression domains become anteroposteriorly segregated only in vertebrates. Suppression of mesodermal involution in vertebrate embryos by inhibition of convergence and extension recapitulates amphioxus-like dorsal mesoderm formation. CONCLUSIONS:Reorganization of ancient mesoderm was likely involved in the evolution of the vertebrate head.
Project description:Vertebrates diverged from other chordates approximately 500 million years ago and have adopted several modifications of developmental processes. Amphioxus is widely used in evolutionary developmental biology research, such as on the basic patterning mechanisms involved in the chordate body plan and the origin of vertebrates. The fast development of next-generation sequencing has advanced knowledge of the genomic organization of amphioxus; however, many aspects of gene regulation during amphioxus development have not been fully characterized. In this study, we applied high-throughput sequencing on the transcriptomes of 13 developmental stages of Chinese amphioxus to gain a comprehensive understanding of transcriptional processes occurring from the fertilized egg to the adult stage. The expression levels of 3,423 genes were significantly changed (FDR ? 0.01). All of these genes were included in a clustering analysis, and enrichment of biological functions associated with these clusters was determined. Significant changes were observed in several important processes, including the down-regulation of the cell cycle and the up-regulation of translation. These results should build a foundation for identifying developmentally important genes, especially those regulatory factors involved in amphioxus development, and advance understanding of the developmental dynamics in vertebrates.
Project description:The Pax3/7 transcription factor family is integral to developmental gene networks contributing to important innovations in vertebrate evolution, including the neural crest. The basal chordate lineage of amphioxus is ideally placed to understand the dynamics of the gene regulatory network evolution that produced these novelties. We report here the discovery that the cephalochordate lineage possesses two Pax3/7 genes, Pax3/7a and Pax3/7b. The tandem duplication is ancestral to all extant amphioxus, occurring in both Asymmetron and Branchiostoma, but originated after the split from the lineage leading to vertebrates. The two paralogues are differentially expressed during embryonic development, particularly in neural and somitic tissues, suggesting distinct regulation. Our results have implications for the study of amphioxus regeneration, neural plate and crest evolution, and differential tandem paralogue evolution.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Gene duplication provides opportunities for lineage diversification and evolution of developmental novelties. Duplicated genes generally either disappear by accumulation of mutations (nonfunctionalization), or are preserved either by the origin of positively selected functions in one or both duplicates (neofunctionalization), or by the partitioning of original gene subfunctions between the duplicates (subfunctionalization). The Pax2/5/8 family of important developmental regulators has undergone parallel expansion among chordate groups. After the divergence of urochordate and vertebrate lineages, two rounds of independent gene duplications resulted in the Pax2, Pax5, and Pax8 genes of most vertebrates (the sister group of the urochordates), and an additional duplication provided the pax2a and pax2b duplicates in teleost fish. Separate from the vertebrate genome expansions, a duplication also created two Pax2/5/8 genes in the common ancestor of ascidian and larvacean urochordates. RESULTS:To better understand mechanisms underlying the evolution of duplicated genes, we investigated, in the larvacean urochordate Oikopleura dioica, the embryonic gene expression patterns of Pax2/5/8 paralogs. We compared the larvacean and ascidian expression patterns to infer modular subfunctions present in the single pre-duplication Pax2/5/8 gene of stem urochordates, and we compared vertebrate and urochordate expression to infer the suite of Pax2/5/8 gene subfunctions in the common ancestor of olfactores (vertebrates + urochordates). Expression pattern differences of larvacean and ascidian Pax2/5/8 orthologs in the endostyle, pharynx and hindgut suggest that some ancestral gene functions have been partitioned differently to the duplicates in the two urochordate lineages. Novel expression in the larvacean heart may have resulted from the neofunctionalization of a Pax2/5/8 gene in the urochordates. Expression of larvacean Pax2/5/8 in the endostyle, in sites of epithelial remodeling, and in sensory tissues evokes like functions of Pax2, Pax5 and Pax8 in vertebrate embryos, and may indicate ancient origins for these functions in the chordate common ancestor. CONCLUSION:Comparative analysis of expression patterns of chordate Pax2/5/8 duplicates, rooted on the single-copy Pax2/5/8 gene of amphioxus, whose lineage diverged basally among chordates, provides new insights into the evolution and development of the heart, thyroid, pharynx, stomodeum and placodes in chordates; supports the controversial conclusion that the atrial siphon of ascidians and the otic placode in vertebrates are homologous; and backs the notion that Pax2/5/8 functioned in ancestral chordates to engineer epithelial fusions and perforations, including gill slit openings.
Project description:Different modes of gene duplication including whole-genome duplication (WGD), and tandem, proximal and dispersed duplications are widespread in angiosperm genomes. Small-scale, stochastic gene relocations and transposed gene duplications are widely accepted to be the primary mechanisms for the creation of dispersed duplicates. However, here we show that most surviving ancient dispersed duplicates in core eudicots originated from large-scale gene relocations within a narrow window of time following a genome triplication (?) event that occurred in the stem lineage of core eudicots. We name these surviving ancient dispersed duplicates as relocated ? duplicates. In Arabidopsis thaliana, relocated ?, WGD and single-gene duplicates have distinct features with regard to gene functions, essentiality, and protein interactions. Relative to ? duplicates, relocated ? duplicates have higher non-synonymous substitution rates, but comparable levels of expression and regulation divergence. Thus, relocated ? duplicates should be distinguished from WGD and single-gene duplicates for evolutionary investigations. Our results suggest large-scale gene relocations following the ? event were associated with the diversification of core eudicots.