Hydra Mesoglea Proteome Identifies Thrombospondin as a Conserved Component Active in Head Organizer Restriction.
ABSTRACT: Thrombospondins (TSPs) are multidomain glycoproteins with complex matricellular functions in tissue homeostasis and remodeling. We describe a novel role of TSP as a Wnt signaling target in the basal eumetazoan Hydra. Proteome analysis identified Hydra magnipapillata TSP (HmTSP) as a major component of the cnidarian mesoglea. In general, the domain organization of cnidarian TSPs is related to the pentameric TSPs of bilaterians, and in phylogenetic analyses cnidarian TSPs formed a separate clade of high sequence diversity. HmTSP expression in polyps was restricted to the hypostomal tip and tentacle bases that harbor Wnt-regulated organizer tissues. In the hypostome, HmTSP- and Wnt3-expressing cells were identical or in close vicinity to each other, and regions of ectopic tentacle formation induced by pharmacological ?-Catenin activation (Alsterpaullone) corresponded to foci of HmTSP expression. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) confirmed binding of Hydra TCF to conserved elements in the HmTSP promotor region. Accordingly, ?-Catenin knockdown by siRNAs reduced normal HmTSP expression at the head organizer. In contrast, knockdown of HmTSP expression led to increased numbers of ectopic organizers in Alsterpaullone-treated animals, indicating a negative regulatory function. Our data suggest an unexpected role for HmTSP as a feedback inhibitor of Wnt signaling during Hydra body axis patterning and maintenance.
Project description:Polyps of the cnidarian Hydra maintain their adult anatomy through two developmental organizers, the head organizer located apically and the foot organizer basally. The head organizer is made of two antagonistic cross-reacting components, an activator, driving apical differentiation and an inhibitor, preventing ectopic head formation. Here we characterize the head inhibitor by comparing planarian genes down-regulated when ?-catenin is silenced to Hydra genes displaying a graded apical-to-basal expression and an up-regulation during head regeneration. We identify Sp5 as a transcription factor that fulfills the head inhibitor properties: leading to a robust multiheaded phenotype when knocked-down in Hydra, acting as a transcriptional repressor of Wnt3 and positively regulated by Wnt/?-catenin signaling. Hydra and zebrafish Sp5 repress Wnt3 promoter activity while Hydra Sp5 also activates its own expression, likely via ?-catenin/TCF interaction. This work identifies Sp5 as a potent feedback loop inhibitor of Wnt/?-catenin signaling, a function conserved across eumetazoan evolution.
Project description:Animal development has traditionally been viewed as an autonomous process directed by the host genome. But, in many animals, biotic and abiotic cues, like temperature and bacterial colonizers, provide signals for multiple developmental steps. Hydra offers unique features to encode these complex interactions of developmental processes with biotic and abiotic factors, and we used it here to investigate the impact of bacterial colonizers and temperature on the pattern formation process. In Hydra, formation of the head organizer involves the canonical Wnt pathway. Treatment with alsterpaullone (ALP) results in acquiring characteristics of the head organizer in the body column. Intriguingly, germfree Hydra polyps are significantly more sensitive to ALP compared to control polyps. In addition to microbes, ?-catenin-dependent pattern formation is also affected by temperature. Gene expression analyses led to the identification of two small secreted peptides, named Eco1 and Eco2, being up-regulated in the response to both Curvibacter sp., the main bacterial colonizer of Hydra, and low temperatures. Loss-of-function experiments revealed that Eco peptides are involved in the regulation of pattern formation and have an antagonistic function to Wnt signaling in Hydra.
Project description:The cnidarian model organism Hydra has long been studied for its remarkable ability to regenerate its head, which is controlled by a head organizer located near the hypostome. The canonical Wnt pathway plays a central role in head organizer function during regeneration and during bud formation, which is the asexual mode of reproduction in Hydra. However, it is unclear how shared the developmental programs of head organizer genesis are in budding and regeneration. Time-series analysis of gene expression changes during head regeneration and budding revealed a set of 298 differentially expressed genes during the 48-h head regeneration and 72-h budding time courses. In order to understand the regulatory elements controlling Hydra head regeneration, we first identified 27,137 open-chromatin elements that are open in one or more sections of the organism body or regenerating tissue. We used histone modification ChIP-seq to identify 9,998 candidate proximal promoter and 3,018 candidate enhancer-like regions respectively. We show that a subset of these regulatory elements is dynamically remodeled during head regeneration and identify a set of transcription factor motifs that are enriched in the enhancer regions activated during head regeneration. Our results show that Hydra displays complex gene regulatory structures of developmentally dynamic enhancers, which suggests that the evolution of complex developmental enhancers predates the split of cnidarians and bilaterians.
Project description:Wnt/?-catenin signalling has been shown to play a critical role during head organizer formation in Hydra. Here, we characterized the Wnt signalling regulatory network involved in formation of the head organizer. We found that Wnt signalling regulates genes that are important in tissue morphogenesis. We identified that majority of transcription factors (TFs) regulated by Wnt/?-catenin signalling belong to the homeodomain and forkhead families. Silencing of Margin, one of the Wnt regulated homeodomain TFs, results in loss of the ectopic tentacle phenotype typically seen upon activation of Wnt signalling. Furthermore, we show that the Margin promoter is directly bound and regulated by ?-catenin. Ectopic expression of Margin in zebrafish embryos results in body axis abnormalities suggesting that Margin plays a role in axis patterning. Our findings suggest that homeobox TFs came under the regulatory umbrella of Wnt/?-catenin signalling presumably resulting in the evolution of primary body axis in animal phyla.
Project description:Developmental processes such as morphogenesis, patterning and differentiation are continuously active in the adult Hydra polyp. We carried out a small molecule screen to identify compounds that affect patterning in Hydra. We identified a novel molecule, DAC-2-25, that causes a homeotic transformation of body column into tentacle zone. This transformation occurs in a progressive and polar fashion, beginning at the oral end of the animal. We have identified several strains that respond to DAC-2-25 and one that does not, and we used chimeras from these strains to identify the ectoderm as the target tissue for DAC-2-25. Using transgenic Hydra that express green fluorescent protein under the control of relevant promoters, we examined how DAC-2-25 affects tentacle patterning. Genes whose expression is associated with the tentacle zone are ectopically expressed upon exposure to DAC-2-25, whereas those associated with body column tissue are turned off as the tentacle zone expands. The expression patterns of the organizer-associated gene HyWnt3 and the hypostome-specific gene HyBra2 are unchanged. Structure-activity relationship studies have identified features of DAC-2-25 that are required for activity and potency. This study shows that small molecule screens in Hydra can be used to dissect patterning processes.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The Hydra head organizer acts as a signaling center that initiates and maintains the primary body axis in steady state polyps and during budding or regeneration. Wnt/beta-Catenin signaling functions as a primary cue controlling this process, but how Wnt ligand activity is locally restricted at the protein level is poorly understood. Here we report a proteomic analysis of Hydra head tissue leading to the identification of an astacin family proteinase as a Wnt processing factor.<h4>Results</h4>Hydra astacin-7 (HAS-7) is expressed from gland cells as an apical-distal gradient in the body column, peaking close beneath the tentacle zone. HAS-7 siRNA knockdown abrogates HyWnt3 proteolysis in the head tissue and induces a robust double axis phenotype, which is rescued by simultaneous HyWnt3 knockdown. Accordingly, double axes are also observed in conditions of increased Wnt activity as in transgenic actin::HyWnt3 and HyDkk1/2/4 siRNA treated animals. HyWnt3-induced double axes in Xenopus embryos could be rescued by coinjection of HAS-7 mRNA. Mathematical modelling combined with experimental promotor analysis indicate an indirect regulation of HAS-7 by beta-Catenin, expanding the classical Turing-type activator-inhibitor model.<h4>Conclusions</h4>We show the astacin family protease HAS-7 maintains a single head organizer through proteolysis of HyWnt3. Our data suggest a negative regulatory function of Wnt processing astacin proteinases in the global patterning of the oral-aboral axis in Hydra.
Project description:Polarized Wnt signaling along the primary body axis is a conserved property of axial patterning in bilaterians and prebilaterians, and depends on localized sources of Wnt ligands. However, the mechanisms governing the localized Wnt expression that emerged early in evolution are poorly understood. Here we find in the cnidarian Hydra that two functionally distinct cis-regulatory elements control the head organizer-associated Hydra Wnt3 (HyWnt3). An autoregulatory element, which mediates direct inputs of Wnt/?-catenin signaling, highly activates HyWnt3 transcription in the head region. In contrast, a repressor element is necessary and sufficient to restrict the activity of the autoregulatory element, thereby allowing the organizer-specific expression. Our results reveal that a combination of autoregulation and repression is crucial for establishing a Wnt-expressing organizing center in a basal metazoan. We suggest that this transcriptional control is an evolutionarily old strategy in the formation of Wnt signaling centers and metazoan axial patterning.
Project description:In and evaginations of 2D cell sheets are major shape generating processes in animal development. They result from directed movement and intercalation of polarized cells associated with cell shape changes. Work on several bilaterian model organisms has emphasized the role of noncanonical Wnt signaling in cell polarization and movement. However, the molecular processes responsible for generating tissue and body shape in ancestral, prebilaterian animals are unknown. We show that noncanonical Wnt signaling acts in mass tissue movements during bud and tentacle evagination and regeneration in the cnidarian polyp Hydra. The wnt5, wnt8, frizzled2 (fz2), and dishevelled-expressing cell clusters define the positions, where bud and tentacle evaginations are initiated; wnt8, fz2, and dishevelled remain up-regulated in those epithelial cells, undergoing cell shape changes during the entire evagination process. Downstream of wnt and dsh expression, JNK activity is required for the evagination process. Multiple ectopic wnt5, wnt8, fz2, and dishevelled-expressing centers and the subsequent evagination of ectopic tentacles are induced throughout the body column by activation of Wnt/beta-Catenin signaling. Our results indicate that integration of axial patterning and tissue morphogenesis by the coordinated action of canonical and noncanonical Wnt pathways was crucial for the evolution of eumetazoan body plans.
Project description:Extracellular matrix (ECM) is considered central to the evolution of metazoan multicellularity; however, the repertoire of ECM proteins in nonbilaterians remains unclear. Thrombospondins (TSPs) are known to be well conserved from cnidarians to vertebrates, yet to date have been considered a unique family, principally studied for matricellular functions in vertebrates. Through searches utilizing the highly conserved C-terminal region of TSPs, we identify undisclosed new families of TSP-related proteins in metazoans, designated mega-TSP, sushi-TSP, and poriferan-TSP, each with a distinctive phylogenetic distribution. These proteins share the TSP C-terminal region domain architecture, as determined by domain composition and analysis of molecular models against known structures. Mega-TSPs, the only form identified in ctenophores, are typically >2,700 aa and are also characterized by N-terminal leucine-rich repeats and central cadherin/immunoglobulin domains. In cnidarians, which have a well-defined ECM, Mega-TSP was expressed throughout embryogenesis in Nematostella vectensis, with dynamic endodermal expression in larvae and primary polyps and widespread ectodermal expression in adult Nematostella vectensis and Hydra magnipapillata polyps. Hydra Mega-TSP was also expressed during regeneration and siRNA-silencing of Mega-TSP in Hydra caused specific blockade of head regeneration. Molecular phylogenetic analyses based on the conserved TSP C-terminal region identified each of the TSP-related groups to form clades distinct from the canonical TSPs. We discuss models for the evolution of the newly defined TSP superfamily by gene duplications, radiation, and gene losses from a debut in the last metazoan common ancestor. Together, the data provide new insight into the evolution of ECM and tissue organization in metazoans.
Project description:The startling capacity of the amphibian Spemann organizer to induce naïve cells to form a Siamese twin embryo with a second set of body axes is one of the hallmarks of developmental biology. However, the axis-inducing potential of the blastopore-associated tissue is commonly regarded as a chordate feature. Here we show that the blastopore lip of a non-bilaterian metazoan, the anthozoan cnidarian Nematostella vectensis, possesses the same capacity and uses the same molecular mechanism for inducing extra axes as chordates: Wnt/?-catenin signaling. We also demonstrate that the establishment of the secondary, directive axis in Nematostella by BMP signaling is sensitive to an initial Wnt signal, but once established the directive axis becomes Wnt-independent. By combining molecular analysis with experimental embryology, we provide evidence that the emergence of the Wnt/?-catenin driven blastopore-associated axial organizer predated the cnidarian-bilaterian split over 600 million years ago.