Transcriptional response of Hoxb genes to retinoid signalling is regionally restricted along the neural tube rostrocaudal axis.
ABSTRACT: During vertebrate neural development, positional information is largely specified by extracellular morphogens. Their distribution, however, is very dynamic due to the multiple roles played by the same signals in the developing and adult neural tissue. This suggests that neural progenitors are able to modify their competence to respond to morphogen signalling and autonomously maintain positional identities after their initial specification. In this work, we take advantage of in vitro culture systems of mouse neural stem/progenitor cells (NSPCs) to show that NSPCs isolated from rostral or caudal regions of the mouse neural tube are differentially responsive to retinoic acid (RA), a pivotal morphogen for the specification of posterior neural fates. Hoxb genes are among the best known RA direct targets in the neural tissue, yet we found that RA could promote their transcription only in caudal but not in rostral NSPCs. Correlating with these effects, key RA-responsive regulatory regions in the Hoxb cluster displayed opposite enrichment of activating or repressing histone marks in rostral and caudal NSPCs. Finally, RA was able to strengthen Hoxb chromatin activation in caudal NSPCs, but was ineffective on the repressed Hoxb chromatin of rostral NSPCs. These results suggest that the response of NSPCs to morphogen signalling across the rostrocaudal axis of the neural tube may be gated by the epigenetic configuration of target patterning genes, allowing long-term maintenance of intrinsic positional values in spite of continuously changing extrinsic signals.
Project description:Craniofacial and ocular morphogenesis require proper regulation of cranial neural crest migration, proliferation, survival and differentiation. Although alterations in maternal thyroid hormone (TH) are associated with congenital craniofacial anomalies, the role of TH on the neural crest has not been previously described. Using zebrafish, we demonstrate that pharmacologic and genetic alterations in TH signaling disrupt cranial neural crest migration, proliferation, and survival, leading to craniofacial, extraocular muscle, and ocular developmental abnormalities. In the rostral cranial neural crest that gives rise to the periocular mesenchyme and the frontonasal process, retinoic acid (RA) rescued migratory defects induced by decreased TH signaling. In the caudal cranial neural crest, TH and RA had reciprocal effects on anterior and posterior pharyngeal arch development. The interactions between TH and RA signaling were partially mediated by the retinoid X receptor. We conclude that TH regulates both rostral and caudal cranial neural crest. Further, coordinated interactions of TH and RA are required for proper craniofacial and ocular development.
Project description:The spatial representation of stimuli in sensory neocortices provides a scaffold for elucidating circuit mechanisms underlying sensory processing. However, the anterior piriform cortex (APC) lacks topology for odor identity as well as afferent and intracortical excitation. Consequently, olfactory processing is considered homogenous along the APC rostral-caudal (RC) axis. We recorded excitatory and inhibitory neurons in APC while optogenetically activating GABAergic interneurons along the RC axis. In contrast to excitation, we find opposing, spatially asymmetric inhibition onto pyramidal cells (PCs) and interneurons. PCs are strongly inhibited by caudal stimulation sites, whereas interneurons are strongly inhibited by rostral sites. At least two mechanisms underlie spatial asymmetries. Enhanced caudal inhibition of PCs is due to increased synaptic strength, whereas rostrally biased inhibition of interneurons is mediated by increased somatostatin-interneuron density. Altogether, we show differences in rostral and caudal inhibitory circuits in APC that may underlie spatial variation in odor processing along the RC axis.
Project description:In vertebrates, two pairs of buds that give rise to the fore- and hindlimbs form at discrete positions along the rostral-caudal axis of the body. The mechanism responsible for the positioning of the limb buds is still largely unknown. Here we show a novel function for Cut homeobox transcription factor 2 (Cux2), the ortholog of Drosophila cut, in refining the forelimb field during chick development. Cux2 is expressed in the forelimb field before the emergence of the limb buds. Knocking down the expression of Cux2 using small interfering RNA (siRNA) resulted in a caudal shift of the forelimb bud, whereas misexpression of Cux2 or the constitutively active Cux2-VP16 caused a rostral shift of the forelimb bud or reduction of the forelimb field along the anterior-posterior axis. Further functional analyses revealed that expression of Hoxb genes and retinaldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (Raldh2), which are involved in limb positioning, are directly activated by Cux2 in the lateral plate mesoderm. Our data suggest that Cux2 in the lateral plate mesoderm refines the forelimb field via regulation of Raldh2 and Hoxb genes in chicken embryos.
Project description:The last stage of neural tube (NT) formation involves closure of the caudal neural plate (NP), an embryonic structure formed by neuromesodermal progenitors and newly differentiated cells that becomes incorporated into the NT. Here, we show in mouse that, as cell specification progresses, neuromesodermal progenitors and their progeny undergo significant changes in shape prior to their incorporation into the NT. The caudo-rostral progression towards differentiation is coupled to a gradual reliance on a unique combination of complex mechanisms that drive tissue folding, involving pulses of apical actomyosin contraction and planar polarised cell rearrangements, all of which are regulated by the Wnt-PCP pathway. Indeed, when this pathway is disrupted, either chemically or genetically, the polarisation and morphology of cells within the entire caudal NP is disturbed, producing delays in NT closure. The most severe disruptions of this pathway prevent caudal NT closure and result in spina bifida. In addition, a decrease in Vangl2 gene dosage also appears to promote more rapid progression towards a neural fate, but not the specification of more neural cells.
Project description:The neuroectoderm is patterned along a rostral-caudal axis in response to localized factors in the embryo, but exactly how these factors act as positional information for this patterning is not yet fully understood. Here, using the self-organizing properties of mouse embryonic stem cell (ESC), we report that ESC-derived neuroectoderm self-generates a Six3+ rostral and a Irx3+ caudal bipolarized patterning. In this instance, localized Fgf signaling performs dual roles, as it regulates Six3+ rostral polarization at an earlier stage and promotes Wnt signaling at a later stage. The Wnt signaling components are differentially expressed in the polarized tissues, leading to genome-wide Irx3+ caudal-polarization signals. Surprisingly, differentially expressed Wnt agonists and antagonists have essential roles in orchestrating the formation of a balanced rostral-caudal neuroectoderm pattern. Together, our findings provide key processes for dynamic self-patterning and evidence that a temporally and locally regulated interaction between Fgf and Wnt signaling controls self-patterning in ESC-derived neuroectoderm. Overall design: The duplicated samples for each of Rax::GFP+ and Rax::GFP- cells during ESC (embryonic stem cell)-derived neural tissue development were analyzed.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Neural conversion from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) has been demonstrated in a variety of systems including chemically defined suspension culture, not requiring extrinsic signals, as well as in an adherent culture method that involves dual SMAD inhibition using Noggin and SB431542 (an inhibitor of activin/nodal signaling). Previous studies have also determined a role for activin/nodal signaling in development of the neural plate and anterior fate specification. We therefore sought to investigate the independent influence of SB431542 both on neural commitment of hESCs and positional identity of derived neural progenitors in chemically defined substrate-free conditions.<h4>Methodology/principal findings</h4>We show that in non-adherent culture conditions, treatment with SB431542 alone for 8 days is sufficient for highly efficient and accelerated neural conversion from hESCs with negligible mesendodermal, epidermal or trophectodermal contamination. In addition the resulting neural progenitor population has a predominantly caudal identity compared to the more anterior positional fate of non-SB431542 treated cultures. Finally we demonstrate that resulting neurons are electro-physiologically competent.<h4>Conclusions</h4>This study provides a platform for the efficient generation of caudal neural progenitors under defined conditions for experimental study.
Project description:Hox genes controlling motor neuron subtype identity are expressed in rostrocaudal patterns that are spatially and temporally collinear with their chromosomal organization. Here we demonstrate that Hox chromatin is subdivided into discrete domains that are controlled by rostrocaudal patterning signals that trigger rapid, domain-wide clearance of repressive histone H3 Lys27 trimethylation (H3K27me3) polycomb modifications. Treatment of differentiating mouse neural progenitors with retinoic acid leads to activation and binding of retinoic acid receptors (RARs) to the Hox1-Hox5 chromatin domains, which is followed by a rapid domain-wide removal of H3K27me3 and acquisition of cervical spinal identity. Wnt and fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signals induce expression of the Cdx2 transcription factor that binds and clears H3K27me3 from the Hox1-Hox9 chromatin domains, leading to specification of brachial or thoracic spinal identity. We propose that rapid clearance of repressive modifications in response to transient patterning signals encodes global rostrocaudal neural identity and that maintenance of these chromatin domains ensures the transmission of positional identity to postmitotic motor neurons later in development.
Project description:The neuroectoderm is patterned along a rostral-caudal axis in response to localized factors in the embryo, but exactly how these factors act as positional information for this patterning is not yet fully understood. Here, using the self-organizing properties of mouse embryonic stem cell (ESC), we report that ESC-derived neuroectoderm self-generates a Six3+ rostral and a Irx3+ caudal bipolarized patterning. In this instance, localized Fgf signaling performs dual roles, as it regulates Six3+ rostral polarization at an earlier stage and promotes Wnt signaling at a later stage. The Wnt signaling components are differentially expressed in the polarized tissues, leading to genome-wide Irx3+ caudal-polarization signals. Surprisingly, differentially expressed Wnt agonists and antagonists have essential roles in orchestrating the formation of a balanced rostral-caudal neuroectoderm pattern. Together, our findings provide key processes for dynamic self-patterning and evidence that a temporally and locally regulated interaction between Fgf and Wnt signaling controls self-patterning in ESC-derived neuroectoderm.
Project description:The 5HT system is organized into rostral and caudal populations with discrete anatomical locations and opposite axonal trajectories in the developing hindbrain. 5HT neuron cell bodies in the rostral subdivision migrate to the midbrain and pons and extend ascending projections throughout the forebrain. 5HT cell bodies in the caudal subdivision migrate to the ventral medulla and caudal half of the pons and provide descending projections to the brainstem and spinal cord. Overall design: We used microarrays to determine genes expressed by both rostral and caudal 5HT neurons as well as genes that are differentially expressed between rostral and caudal 5HT neurons at E12.5 when axon pathfinding and cell migration are underway. E12.5 neural tubes were isolated from ePet-EYFP embryos and dissected into a rostral domain (mesecephalic flexure to pontine flexure) and a caudal domain (pontine flexure to spinal cord). After cell dissociation (details under growth protocol), cells were subjected to fluorescent activated cell sorting (FACS) to obtain 4 cell populations. R+ = rostral ePetEYFP positive 5HT neurons; R- = YFP negative non-serotonergic cells in the rostral neural tube; C+ = caudal ePetEYFP positive 5HT neurons; C- = YFP negative non-serotonergic cells in the caudal neural tube. 200,000 cells for each of the 4 cell types (R+, R-, C+, C-) were collected for RNA extraction and hybridization to Affymetrix Mouse 430 2.0 arrays.
Project description:Secreted signals, known as morphogens, provide the positional information that organizes gene expression and cellular differentiation in many developing tissues. In the vertebrate neural tube, Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) acts as a morphogen to control the pattern of neuronal subtype specification. Using an in vivo reporter of Shh signaling, mouse genetics, and systems modeling, we show that a spatially and temporally changing gradient of Shh signaling is interpreted by the regulatory logic of a downstream transcriptional network. The design of the network, which links three transcription factors to Shh signaling, is responsible for differential spatial and temporal gene expression. In addition, the network renders cells insensitive to fluctuations in signaling and confers hysteresis--memory of the signal. Our findings reveal that morphogen interpretation is an emergent property of the architecture of a transcriptional network that provides robustness and reliability to tissue patterning.