Spop regulates Gli3 activity and Shh signaling in dorsoventral patterning of the mouse spinal cord.
ABSTRACT: Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) signaling regulates the patterning of ventral spinal cord through the effector Gli family of transcription factors. Previous in vitro studies showed that an E3 ubiquitin ligase containing Speckle-type POZ protein (Spop) targets Gli2 and Gli3 for ubiquitination and degradation, but the role of Spop in Shh signaling and mammalian spinal cord patterning remains unknown. Here, we show that loss of Spop does not alter spinal cord patterning, but it suppresses the loss of floor plate and V3 interneuron phenotype of Gli2 mutants, suggesting a negative role of Spop in Gli3 activator activity, Shh signaling and the specification of ventral cell fates in the spinal cord. This correlates with a moderate but significant increase in the level of Gli3 protein in the Spop mutant spinal cords. Furthermore, loss of Spop restores the maximal Shh pathway activation and ventral cell fate specification in the Gli1;Sufu double mutant spinal cord. Finally, we show that loss of Spop-like does not change the spinal cord patterning in either wild type or Spop mutants, suggesting that it does not compensate for the loss of Spop in Shh signaling and spinal cord patterning. Therefore, our results demonstrate a negative role of Spop in the level and activity of Gli3, Shh signaling and ventral spinal cord patterning.
Project description:Generation of distinct ventral neuronal subtypes in the developing spinal cord requires Shh signaling mediated by the Gli family of transcription factors. Genetic studies of Shh(-/-);Gli3(-/-) double mutants indicated that the inhibition of Gli3 repressor activity by Shh is sufficient for the generation of different neurons including motor neurons. In this study, we show that although ventral neural progenitors are initiated in normal numbers in Shh(-/-);Gli3(-/-) mutants, the subsequent appearance of motor neuron progenitors shows a approximately 20-hour lag, concomitant with a delay in the activation of a pan-neuronal differentiation program and cell cycle exit of ventral neural progenitors. Accordingly, the Shh(-/-);Gli3(-/-) mutant spinal cord exhibits a delay in motor neuron differentiation and an accumulation of a ventral neural progenitor pool. The requirement of Shh and Gli3 activities to promote the timely appearance of motor neuron progenitors is further supported by the analysis of Ptch1(-/-) mutants, in which constitutive Shh pathway activity is sufficient to elicit ectopic and premature differentiation of motor neurons at the expense of ventral neural progenitors. Taken together, our analysis suggests that, beyond its well established dorso-ventral patterning function through a Gli3-derepression mechanism, Shh signaling is additionally required to promote the timely appearance of motor neuron progenitors in the developing spinal cord.
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: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:Gli2 and Gli3 are primary transcriptional regulators that mediate hedgehog (Hh) signaling. Mechanisms that stabilize and destabilize Gli2 and Gli3 are essential for the proteins to promptly respond to Hh signaling or to be inactivated following the activation. In this study, we show that loss of suppressor of fused (Sufu; an inhibitory effector for Gli proteins) results in destabilization of Gli2 and Gli3 full-length activators but not of their C-terminally processed repressors, whereas overexpression of Sufu stabilizes them. By contrast, RNAi knockdown of Spop (a substrate-binding adaptor for the cullin3-based ubiquitin E3 ligase) in Sufu mutant mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) can restore the levels of Gli2 and Gli3 full-length proteins, but not those of their repressors, whereas introducing Sufu into the MEFs stabilizes Gli2 and Gli3 full-length proteins and rescues Gli3 processing. Consistent with these findings, forced Spop expression promotes Gli2 and Gli3 degradation and Gli3 processing. The functions of Sufu and Spop oppose each other through their competitive binding to the N- and C-terminal regions of Gli3 or the C-terminal region of Gli2. More importantly, the Gli3 repressor expressed by a Gli3 mutant allele (Gli3(Delta699)) can mostly rescue the ventralized neural tube phenotypes of Sufu mutant embryos, indicating that the Gli3 repressor can function independently of Sufu. Our study provides a new insight into the regulation of Gli2 and Gli3 stability and processing by Sufu and Spop, and reveals the unexpected Sufu-independent Gli3 repressor function.
Project description:Sonic hedgehog (Shh) is a morphogenic protein that operates through the Gli transcription factor-dependent canonical pathway to orchestrate normal development of many tissues. Because aberrant levels of Gli activity lead to a wide spectrum of diseases ranging from neurodevelopmental defects to cancer, understanding the regulatory mechanisms of Shh canonical pathway is paramount. During early stages of spinal cord development, Shh specifies neural progenitors through the canonical signaling. Despite persistence of Shh as spinal cord development progresses, Gli activity is switched off by unknown mechanisms. In this study we find that Shh inverts its action on Gli during development. Strikingly, Shh decreases Gli signaling in the embryonic spinal cord by an electrical activity- and cAMP-dependent protein kinase-mediated pathway. The inhibition of Gli activity by Shh operates at multiple levels. Shh promotes cytosolic over nuclear localization of Gli2, induces Gli2 and Gli3 processing into repressor forms, and activates cAMP-responsive element binding protein that in turn represses gli1 transcription. The regulatory mechanisms identified in this study likely operate with different spatiotemporal resolution and ensure effective down-regulation of the canonical Shh signaling as spinal cord development progresses. The developmentally regulated intercalation of electrical activity in the Shh pathway may represent a paradigm for switching from canonical to noncanonical roles of developmental cues during neuronal differentiation and maturation.
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:Cilia are dynamic organelles that are essential for a vast array of developmental patterning events, including left-right specification, skeletal formation, neural development, and organogenesis. Despite recent advances in understanding cilia form and function, many key ciliogenesis components have yet to be identified. By using a forward genetics approach, we isolated a novel mutant allele (schlei) of the mouse Transmembrane protein 107 (Tmem107) gene, which we show here is critical for cilia formation and embryonic patterning. Tmem107 is required for normal Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling in the neural tube and acts in combination with Gli2 and Gli3 to pattern ventral and intermediate neuronal cell types. schlei mutants also form extra digits, and we demonstrate that Tmem107 acts in the Shh pathway to determine digit number, but not identity, by regulating a subset of Shh target genes. Phenotypically, schlei mutants share several features with other cilia mutants; however, spatial restriction of mutant phenotypes and lack of left-right patterning defects in schlei animals suggest differential requirements for Tmem107 in cilia formation in distinct tissues. Also, in contrast to mutants with complete loss of cilia, schlei mutants retain some function of both Gli activator and repressor forms. Together, these studies identify a previously unknown regulator of ciliogenesis and provide insight into how ciliary factors affect Shh signaling and cilia biogenesis in distinct tissues.
Project description:The mammalian Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signalling pathway is essential for embryonic development and the patterning of multiple organs. Disruption or activation of Shh signalling leads to multiple birth defects, including holoprosencephaly, neural tube defects and polydactyly, and in adults results in tumours of the skin or central nervous system. Genetic approaches with model organisms continue to identify novel components of the pathway, including key molecules that function as positive or negative regulators of Shh signalling. Data presented here define Tulp3 as a novel negative regulator of the Shh pathway. We have identified a new mouse mutant that is a strongly hypomorphic allele of Tulp3 and which exhibits expansion of ventral markers in the caudal spinal cord, as well as neural tube defects and preaxial polydactyly, consistent with increased Shh signalling. We demonstrate that Tulp3 acts genetically downstream of Shh and Smoothened (Smo) in neural tube patterning and exhibits a genetic interaction with Gli3 in limb development. We show that Tulp3 does not appear to alter expression or processing of Gli3, and we demonstrate that transcriptional regulation of other negative regulators (Rab23, Fkbp8, Thm1, Sufu and PKA) is not affected. We discuss the possible mechanism of action of Tulp3 in Shh-mediated signalling in light of these new data.
Project description:The directed differentiation of forebrain neuronal types from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) has not been achieved. Here, we show that hESCs differentiate to telencephalic progenitors with a predominantly dorsal identity in a chemically defined medium without known morphogens. This is attributed to endogenous Wnt signaling, which upregulates the truncated form of GLI3, a repressor of sonic hedgehog (SHH). A high concentration of SHH, or the inhibition of Wnt by dickkopf 1 (DKK1) together with a low concentration of SHH, almost completely converts the primitive dorsal precursors to ventral progenitors, which is partially achieved through both downregulation of the truncated GLI3 and upregulation of full-length GLI3 expression. These dorsal and ventral telencephalic progenitors differentiate to functional glutamatergic and GABAergic neurons, respectively. Thus, although hESCs generate dorsal telencephalic cells, as opposed to ventral progenitors in other vertebrates, in the absence of exogenous morphogens, human cells use a similar molecular mechanism to control the dorsal versus ventral fate. The coordination of Wnt and SHH signaling through GLI3 represents a novel mechanism that regulates ventral-dorsal patterning in the development of forebrain neuronal subtypes.
Project description:Sonic hedgehog (SHH) is a master developmental regulator. In 1995, the SHH crystal structure predicted that SHH-E176 (human)/E177 (mouse) regulates signaling through a Zn2+-dependent mechanism. While Zn2+ is known to be required for SHH protein stability, a regulatory role for SHH-E176 or Zn2+ has not been described. Here, we show that SHH-E176/177 modulates Zn2+-dependent cross-linking in vitro and is required for endogenous signaling, in vivo. While ectopically expressed SHH-E176A is highly active, mice expressing SHH-E177A at endogenous sites (ShhE177A/-) are morphologically indistinguishable from mice lacking SHH (Shh-/-), with patterning defects in both embryonic spinal cord and forebrain. SHH-E177A distribution along the embryonic spinal cord ventricle is unaltered, suggesting that E177 does not control long-range transport. While SHH-E177A association with cilia basal bodies increases in embryonic ventral spinal cord, diffusely distributed SHH-E177A is not detected. Together, these results reveal a novel role for E177-Zn2+ in regulating SHH signaling that may involve critical, cilia basal-body localized changes in cross-linking and/or conformation.