Pnrc2 regulates 3'UTR-mediated decay of segmentation clock-associated transcripts during zebrafish segmentation.
ABSTRACT: Vertebrate segmentation is controlled by the segmentation clock, a molecular oscillator that regulates gene expression and cycles rapidly. The expression of many genes oscillates during segmentation, including hairy/Enhancer of split-related (her or Hes) genes, which encode transcriptional repressors that auto-inhibit their own expression, and deltaC (dlc), which encodes a Notch ligand. We previously identified the tortuga (tor) locus in a zebrafish forward genetic screen for genes involved in cyclic transcript regulation and showed that cyclic transcripts accumulate post-splicing in tor mutants. Here we show that cyclic mRNA accumulation in tor mutants is due to loss of pnrc2, which encodes a proline-rich nuclear receptor co-activator implicated in mRNA decay. Using an inducible in vivo reporter system to analyze transcript stability, we find that the her1 3'UTR confers Pnrc2-dependent instability to a heterologous transcript. her1 mRNA decay is Dicer-independent and likely employs a Pnrc2-Upf1-containing mRNA decay complex. Surprisingly, despite accumulation of cyclic transcripts in pnrc2-deficient embryos, we find that cyclic protein is expressed normally. Overall, we show that Pnrc2 promotes 3'UTR-mediated decay of developmentally-regulated segmentation clock transcripts and we uncover an additional post-transcriptional regulatory layer that ensures oscillatory protein expression in the absence of cyclic mRNA decay.
Project description:Sequential production of body segments in vertebrate embryos is regulated by a molecular oscillator (the segmentation clock) that drives cyclic transcription of genes involved in positioning intersegmental boundaries. Mathematical modeling indicates that the period of the clock depends on the total delay kinetics of a negative feedback circuit, including those associated with the synthesis of transcripts encoding clock components [Lewis J (2003) Curr Biol 13(16):1398-1408]. Here, we measure expression delays for three transcripts [Lunatic fringe, Hes7/her1, and Notch-regulated-ankyrin-repeat-protein (Nrarp)], that cycle during segmentation in the zebrafish, chick, and mouse, and provide in vivo measurements of endogenous splicing and export kinetics. We show that mRNA splicing and export are much slower than transcript elongation, with the longest delay (about 16 min in the mouse) being due to mRNA export. We conclude that the kinetics of mRNA and protein production and destruction can account for much of the clock period, and provide strong support for delayed autorepression as the underlying mechanism of the segmentation clock.
Project description:The term "nonsense-mediated mRNA decay" (NMD) originally described the degradation of mRNAs with premature translation-termination codons (PTCs), but its meaning has recently been extended to be a translation-dependent post-transcriptional regulator of gene expression affecting 3%-10% of all mRNAs. The degradation of NMD target mRNAs involves both exonucleolytic and endonucleolytic pathways in mammalian cells. While the latter is mediated by the endonuclease SMG6, the former pathway has been reported to require a complex of SMG5-SMG7 or SMG5-PNRC2 binding to UPF1. However, the existence, dominance, and mechanistic details of these exonucleolytic pathways are divisive. Therefore, we have investigated the possible exonucleolytic modes of mRNA decay in NMD by examining the roles of UPF1, SMG5, SMG7, and PNRC2 using a combination of functional assays and interaction mapping. Confirming previous work, we detected an interaction between SMG5 and SMG7 and also a functional need for this complex in NMD. In contrast, we found no evidence for the existence of a physical or functional interaction between SMG5 and PNRC2. Instead, we show that UPF1 interacts with PNRC2 and that it triggers 5'-3' exonucleolytic decay of reporter transcripts in tethering assays. PNRC2 interacts mainly with decapping factors and its knockdown does not affect the RNA levels of NMD reporters. We conclude that PNRC2 is probably an important mRNA decapping factor but that it does not appear to be required for NMD.
Project description:The formation of reiterated somites along the vertebrate body axis is controlled by the segmentation clock, a molecular oscillator expressed within presomitic mesoderm (PSM) cells. Although PSM cells oscillate autonomously, they coordinate with neighboring cells to generate a sweeping wave of cyclic gene expression through the PSM that has a periodicity equal to that of somite formation. The velocity of each wave slows as it moves anteriorly through the PSM, although the dynamics of clock slowing have not been well characterized. Here, we investigate segmentation clock dynamics in the anterior PSM in developing zebrafish embryos using an in vivo clock reporter, her1:her1-venus. The her1:her1-venus reporter has single-cell resolution, allowing us to follow segmentation clock oscillations in individual cells in real-time. By retrospectively tracking oscillations of future somite boundary cells, we find that clock reporter signal increases in anterior PSM cells and that the periodicity of reporter oscillations slows to about ?1.5 times the periodicity in posterior PSM cells. This gradual slowing of the clock in the anterior PSM creates peaks of clock expression that are separated at a two-segment periodicity both spatially and temporally, a phenomenon we observe in single cells and in tissue-wide analyses. These results differ from previous predictions that clock oscillations stop or are stabilized in the anterior PSM. Instead, PSM cells oscillate until they incorporate into somites. Our findings suggest that the segmentation clock may signal somite formation using a phase gradient with a two-somite periodicity.
Project description:During vertebrate embryogenesis, the rhythmic and sequential segmentation of the body axis is regulated by an oscillating genetic network termed the segmentation clock. We describe a new dynamic model for the core pace-making circuit of the zebrafish segmentation clock based on a systematic biochemical investigation of the network's topology and precise measurements of somitogenesis dynamics in novel genetic mutants. We show that the core pace-making circuit consists of two distinct negative feedback loops, one with Her1 homodimers and the other with Her7:Hes6 heterodimers, operating in parallel. To explain the observed single and double mutant phenotypes of her1, her7, and hes6 mutant embryos in our dynamic model, we postulate that the availability and effective stability of the dimers with DNA binding activity is controlled in a "dimer cloud" that contains all possible dimeric combinations between the three factors. This feature of our model predicts that Hes6 protein levels should oscillate despite constant hes6 mRNA production, which we confirm experimentally using novel Hes6 antibodies. The control of the circuit's dynamics by a population of dimers with and without DNA binding activity is a new principle for the segmentation clock and may be relevant to other biological clocks and transcriptional regulatory networks.
Project description:In vertebrate development, the sequential and rhythmic segmentation of the body axis is regulated by a "segmentation clock". This clock is comprised of a population of coordinated oscillating cells that together produce rhythmic gene expression patterns in the embryo. Whether individual cells autonomously maintain oscillations, or whether oscillations depend on signals from neighboring cells is unknown. Using a transgenic zebrafish reporter line for the cyclic transcription factor Her1, we recorded single tailbud cells in vitro. We demonstrate that individual cells can behave as autonomous cellular oscillators. We described the observed variability in cell behavior using a theory of generic oscillators with correlated noise. Single cells have longer periods and lower precision than the tissue, highlighting the role of collective processes in the segmentation clock. Our work reveals a population of cells from the zebrafish segmentation clock that behave as self-sustained, autonomous oscillators with distinctive noisy dynamics.
Project description:Somites in vertebrates are periodic segmented structures that give rise to the vertebrae and muscles of body. Somites are generated from presomitic mesoderm (PSM), but it is not fully understood how cellular differentiation and segment formation are achieved in the anterior PSM. We report here that zebrafish gadd45beta1 and gadd45beta2 genes are periodically expressed as paired stripes adjacent to the neural tube in the anterior PSM region where presomitic cells mature. In mammals, it is known that GADD45 (growth arrest and DNA damage) family proteins play a role in cell-cycle control. We found that both knockdown and overexpression of gadd45beta genes caused somite defects with different consequences for marker gene expression. Knockdown of gadd45beta genes with antisense morpholino oligonucleotides caused a broad expansion of mesp-a in the PSM, and both cyclic expression of her1 and segmented expression of MyoD were disorganized. On the other hand, injection of gadd45beta1 or gadd45beta2 suppressed expression of mesp-a and her1 in anterior PSM and MyoD in paraxial mesoderm. These results indicate that regulated expression of gadd45beta genes in the anterior PSM is required for somite segmentation.
Project description:In mammals, nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) functions in post-transcriptional gene regulation as well as mRNA surveillance. A key NMD factor, Upf1, becomes hyperphosphorylated by SMG1 kinase during the recognition of NMD substrates. Hyperphosphorylated Upf1 interacts with several factors including SMG5, SMG6, SMG7 and PNRC2 to trigger rapid mRNA degradation. However, the possible cross-talk among these factors and their selective use during NMD remain unknown. Here, we show that PNRC2 is preferentially complexed with SMG5, but not with SMG6 or SMG7, and that downregulation of PNRC2 abolishes the interaction between SMG5 and Dcp1a, a component of the decapping complex. In addition, tethering experiments reveal the function of Upf1, SMG5 and PNRC2 at the same step of NMD and the requirement of SMG6 for Upf1 for efficient mRNA degradation. Intriguingly, microarray results reveal the significant overlap of SMG5-dependent NMD substrates more with PNRC2-dependent NMD substrates than with SMG7-dependent NMD substrates, suggesting the functional dominance of SMG5-PNRC2, rather than SMG5-SMG7, under normal conditions. The results provide evidence that, to some extent, endogenous NMD substrates have their own binding preference for Upf1-interacting adaptors or effectors.
Project description:Gene expression is an inherently stochastic process; however, organismal development and homeostasis require that cells spatiotemporally coordinate the expression of large sets of genes. Coexpressed gene pairs in metazoans often reside in the same chromosomal neighborhood. Gene pairs represent 10% - 50% of all genes depending on species. As correlated gene expression can be solely due to shared upstream regulators, the selective advantage of maintaining adjacent gene pairs remains unknown. We here investigated the transcriptional correlation of her1 and her7, two linked zebrafish segmentation clock genes, in multiple genetic and environmental backgrounds. By combining single-cell transcript counting, genetic engineering, real-time imaging, and computational modeling, we reveal that gene pairing boosts correlated transcription and provides phenotypic robustness for developmental pattern formation. Our results demonstrate that the confluence of gene pairing and negative feedback generates correlated transcription of a rapid developmental clock, which drives oscillations and segmentation. We anticipate that these findings will inspire investigating the advantages of gene pairing in other systems as well as engineering precise synthetic clocks in embryos and organoids.
Project description:Glucocorticoid receptor (GR), which was originally known to function as a nuclear receptor, plays a role in rapid mRNA degradation by acting as an RNA-binding protein. The mechanism by which this process occurs remains unknown. Here, we demonstrate that GR, preloaded onto the 5'UTR of a target mRNA, recruits UPF1 through proline-rich nuclear receptor coregulatory protein 2 (PNRC2) in a ligand-dependent manner, so as to elicit rapid mRNA degradation. We call this process GR-mediated mRNA decay (GMD). Although GMD, nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD), and staufen-mediated mRNA decay (SMD) share upstream frameshift 1 (UPF1) and PNRC2, we find that GMD is mechanistically distinct from NMD and SMD. We also identify de novo cellular GMD substrates using microarray analysis. Intriguingly, GMD functions in the chemotaxis of human monocytes by targeting chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2 (CCL2) mRNA. Thus, our data provide molecular evidence of a posttranscriptional role of the well-studied nuclear hormone receptor, GR, which is traditionally considered a transcription factor.
Project description:Segmentation of paraxial mesoderm in vertebrates is regulated by a genetic oscillator that manifests as a series of wavelike or cyclic gene expression domains in the embryo. In zebrafish, this oscillator involves members of the Delta/Notch intercellular signaling pathway, and its down-stream targets, the Her family of transcriptional repressors. Loss of function of any one of the genes of this system, such as her7, gives rise to segmentation defects in the posterior trunk and tail, concomitant with a disruption of cyclic expression domains, indicating that the oscillator is required for posterior segmentation. Control of segmentation in the anterior trunk, and its relationship to that of the posterior is, however, not yet well understood. A combined loss of the cyclic Her genes her1 and her7 disrupts segmentation of both anterior and posterior paraxial mesoderm, indicating that her genes function redundantly in anterior segmentation. To test whether this anterior redundancy is specific to the her gene family, or alternatively is a more global feature of the segmentation oscillator, we looked at anterior segmentation after morpholino knock down of the cyclic cell-surface Notch ligand deltaC (dlc), either alone or in combination with her7, or other Delta/Notch pathway genes. We find that dlc is required for coherence of wavelike expression domains of cyclic genes her1 and her7 and maintenance of their expression levels, as well as for cyclic transcription of dlc itself, confirming that dlc is a component of the segmentation oscillator. Dose dependent, posteriorly-restricted segmentation defects were seen in the dlc knock down, and in combination with the deltaD or notch1a mutants. However, combined reduction of function of dlc and her7 results in defective segmentation of both anterior and posterior paraxial mesoderm, and a failure of cyclic expression domains to initiate, similar to loss of both her genes. Thus, anterior segmentation requires the functions of both her and delta family members in a parallel manner, suggesting that the segmentation oscillator operates in paraxial mesoderm along the entire vertebrate axis.