ES-mediated chimera analysis revealed requirement of DDX6 for NANOS2 localization and function in mouse germ cells.
ABSTRACT: In embryonic male germ cells, the RNA-binding protein NANOS2 recruits its target RNAs to processing bodies (P-bodies), where they are repressed. This process is necessary to promote male-type germ cell differentiation. However, it remains unclear whether all NANOS2 functions depend on P-bodies. To address this question, we established ES cell lines containing a germ cell-specific inducible Cre and reporter together with the floxed Ddx6 allele. We deleted the Ddx6 gene by administering tamoxifen to chimeric embryos containing germ cells derived from recombinant ES cells. DDX6-null germ cells exhibited both similar and distinct defects from those observed in NANOS2-null germ cells. These results demonstrate that NANOS2 function is carried out via both P-body-dependent and -independent mechanisms. RNA-seq analyses further supported the phenotypic differences between DDX6-null and NANOS2-null germ cells, and indicated distinct molecular cascades involved in NANOS2-mediated gene regulation.
Project description:NANOS2 and NANOS3 belong to the Nanos family of proteins that contain a conserved zinc finger domain, which consists of two consecutive CCHC-type zinc finger motifs, and contribute to germ cell development in mice. Previous studies indicate that there are redundant and distinct functions of these two proteins. NANOS2 rescues NANOS3 functions in the maintenance of primordial germ cells, whereas NANOS3 fails to replace NANOS2 functions in the male germ cell pathway. However, the lack of a conditional allele of Nanos3 has hampered delineation of each contribution of NANOS2 and NANOS3 to the male germ cell pathway. In addition, the molecular mechanism underlying the distinct functions of these proteins remains unexplored. Here, we report an unexpected observation of a transgenic mouse line expressing a NANOS2 variant harboring mutations in the zinc finger domain. Transcription of Nanos2 and Nanos3 was strongly compromised in the presence of this transgene, which resulted in the mimicking of the Nanos2/Nanos3 double-null condition in the male gonad. In these transgenic mice, P-bodies involved in RNA metabolism had disappeared and germ cell differentiation was more severely affected than that in Nanos2-null mice, indicating that NANOS3 partially substitutes for NANOS2 functions. In addition, similar to NANOS2, we found that NANOS3 associated with the CCR4-NOT deadenylation complex but via a direct interaction with CNOT8, unlike CNOT1 in the case of NANOS2. This alternate interaction might account for the molecular basis of the functional redundancy and differences in NANOS2 and NANOS3 functions.
Project description:Nanos is one of the evolutionarily conserved proteins implicated in germ cell development. We have previously shown that NANOS2 plays an important role in both the maintenance and sexual development of germ cells. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying these events have remained elusive. In our present study, we found that NANOS2 localizes to the P-bodies, known centers of RNA degradation that are abundantly accumulated in male gonocytes. We further identified by immunoprecipitation that the components of the CCR4-NOT deadenylation complex are NANOS2-interacting proteins and found that NANOS2 promotes the localization of CNOT proteins to P-bodies in vivo. We also elucidated that the NANOS2/CCR4-NOT complex has deadenylase activity in vitro, and that some of the RNAs implicated in meiosis interact with NANOS2 and are accumulated in its absence. Our current data thus indicate that the expression of these RNA molecules is normally suppressed via a NANOS2-mediated mechanism. We propose from our current findings that NANOS2-interacting RNAs may be recruited to P-bodies and degraded by the enzymes contained therein through NANOS2-mediated deadenylation.
Project description:During murine germ cell development, male germ cells enter the mitotically arrested G0 stage, which is an initial step of sexually dimorphic differentiation. The male-specific RNA-binding protein NANOS2 has a key role in suppressing the cell cycle in germ cells. However, the detailed mechanism of how NANOS2 regulates the cell cycle remains unclear. Using single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq), we extracted the cell cycle state of each germ cell in wild-type and <i>Nanos2</i>-KO testes and revealed that <i>Nanos2</i> expression starts in mitotic cells and induces mitotic arrest. We identified <i>Rheb</i>, a regulator of mTORC1, and <i>Ptma</i> as possible targets of NANOS2. We propose that repression of the cell cycle is a primary function of NANOS2 and that it is mediated via the suppression of mTORC1 activity through the repression of <i>Rheb</i> in a post-transcriptional manner.
Project description:Evolutionally conserved Nanos RNA-binding proteins play crucial roles in germ cell development. While a mammalian Nanos family protein, NANOS2, is required for sexual differentiation of male (XY) germ cells in mice, the underlying mechanisms and the identities of its target RNAs in vivo remain elusive. Using comprehensive microarray analysis and a bacterial artificial chromosome transgenic system, here we identify Dazl, a germ cell-specific gene encoding an RNA-binding protein implicated in translation, as a crucial target of NANOS2. Importantly, removal of the Dazl 3'-untranslated region in XY germ cells stabilizes the Dazl mRNA, resulting in elevated meiotic gene expression, abnormal resumption of the cell cycle and impaired processing-body formation, reminiscent of Nanos2-knockout phenotypes. Furthermore, our data suggest that NANOS2 acts as an antagonist of the DAZL protein. We propose a dual system of NANOS2-mediated suppression of Dazl expression as a pivotal molecular mechanism promoting sexual differentiation of XY germ cells.
Project description:Nanos is one of the evolutionarily conserved proteins implicated in germ cell development and we have previously shown that it interacts with the CCR4-NOT deadenylation complex leading to the suppression of specific RNAs. However, the molecular mechanism and physiological significance of this interaction have remained elusive. In our present study, we identify CNOT1, a component of the CCR4-NOT deadenylation complex, as a direct factor mediating the interaction with NANOS2. We find that the first 10 amino acids (AAs) of NANOS2 are required for this binding. We further observe that a NANOS2 mutant lacking these first 10 AAs (NANOS2-?N10) fails to rescue defects in the Nanos2-null mouse. Our current data thus indicate that the interaction with the CCR4-NOT deadenylation complex is essential for NANOS2 function. In addition, we further demonstrate that NANOS2-?N10 can associate with specific mRNAs as well as wild-type NANOS2, suggesting the existence of other NANOS2-associated factor(s) that determine the specificity of RNA-binding independently of the CCR4-NOT deadenylation complex.
Project description:Specification of the primordial germ cells (PGCs) is essential for sexually reproducing animals. Although the mechanisms of PGC specification are diverse between organisms, the RNA binding protein Nanos is consistently required in the germ line in all species tested. How Nanos is selectively expressed in the germ line, however, remains largely elusive. We report that in sea urchin embryos, the early expression of Nanos2 in the PGCs requires the maternal Wnt pathway. During gastrulation, however, Nanos2 expression expands into adjacent somatic mesodermal cells and this secondary Nanos expression instead requires Delta/Notch signaling through the forkhead family member FoxY. Each of these transcriptional regulators were tested by chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis and found to directly interact with a DNA locus upstream of Nanos2. Given the conserved importance of Nanos in germ line specification, and the derived character of the micromeres and small micromeres in the sea urchin, we propose that the ancestral mechanism of Nanos2 expression in echinoderms was by induction in mesodermal cells during gastrulation.
Project description:Sea urchin (Mesocentrotus nudus) is an economically important mariculture species in China and the gonads are the solely edible parts to human. The molecular mechanisms of gonad development have attracted increasing attention in recent years. Although the nanos2 gene has been identified as a germ cell marker in several invertebrates, little is known about nanos2 in adult sea urchins. Hereinto, we report the characterization of Mnnano2, an M. nudus nanos2 homology gene. Mnnanos2 is a maternal factor and can be detected continuously during embryogenesis and early ontogeny. Real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) and section in situ hybridization (ISH) analysis revealed a dynamic and sexually dimorphic expression pattern of Mnnano2 in the gonads. Its expression reached the maximal level at Stage 2 along with the gonad development in both ovary and testis. In the ovary, Mnnanos2 is specifically expressed in germ cells. In contrast, Mnnanos2 is expressed in both nutritive phagocytes (NP) cells and male germ cells in testis. Moreover, knocking down of Mnnanos2 by means of RNA interference (RNAi) reduced nanos2 and boule expression but conversely increased the expression of foxl2. Therefore, our data suggest that Mnnanos2 may serve as a female germ cell marker during gametogenesis and provide chances to uncover its function in adult sea urchin.
Project description:To investigate the biochemical function of NANOS2, we performed expression microarray analysis of the embyornic male gonad of Nanos2 hetero, Nanos2 KO, and Nanos2 KO_Tg 3M-CM-^WFLAG-tagged Nanos2-M-NM-^TN10, which is truncated form of Nanos2 in the N-terminal region, transgenic mice. 3M-CM-^WFLAG-tagged Nanos2-M-NM-^TN10 protein function was validated by rescue experiment in the Nanos2-null male gonad of mouse embryo at E14.5. Biological duplicates were examined at each genotype, Nanos2 hetero, Nanos2 KO, and Nanos2 KO_Tg 3M-CM-^WFLAG-tagged Nanos2-M-NM-^TN10 for each experiment.
Project description:P-bodies are cytoplasmic ribonucleoprotein granules involved in posttranscriptional regulation. DDX6 is a key component of their assembly in human cells. This DEAD-box RNA helicase is known to be associated with various complexes, including the decapping complex, the CPEB repression complex, RISC, and the CCR4/NOT complex. To understand which DDX6 complexes are required for P-body assembly, we analyzed the DDX6 interactome using the tandem-affinity purification methodology coupled to mass spectrometry. Three complexes were prominent: the decapping complex, a CPEB-like complex, and an Ataxin2/Ataxin2L complex. The exon junction complex was also found, suggesting DDX6 binding to newly exported mRNAs. Finally, some DDX6 was associated with polysomes, as previously reported in yeast. Despite its high enrichment in P-bodies, most DDX6 is localized out of P-bodies. Of the three complexes, only the decapping and CPEB-like complexes were recruited into P-bodies. Investigation of P-body assembly in various conditions allowed us to distinguish required proteins from those that are dispensable or participate only in specific conditions. Three proteins were required in all tested conditions: DDX6, 4E-T, and LSM14A. These results reveal the variety of pathways of P-body assembly, which all nevertheless share three key factors connecting P-body assembly to repression.
Project description:Spontaneous testicular teratomas (STTs) derived from primordial germ cells (PGCs) in the mouse embryonic testes predominantly develop in the 129 family inbred strain. Ter (spontaneous mutation) is a single nucleotide polymorphism that generates a premature stop codon of Dead end1 (Dnd1) and increases the incidence of STTs in the 129 genetic background. We previously found that DND1 interacts with NANOS2 or NANOS3 and that these complexes play a vital role in male embryonic germ cells and adult spermatogonia. However, the following are unclear: (a) whether DND1 works with NANOS2 or NANOS3 to regulate teratoma incidence, and (b) whether Ter simply causes Dnd1 loss or produces a short mutant DND1 protein. In the current study, we newly established a conventional Dnd1-knockout mouse line and found that these mice showed phenotypes similar to those of Ter mutant mice in spermatogenesis, oogenesis, and teratoma incidence, with a slight difference in spermiogenesis. In addition, we found that the amount of DND1 in Dnd1+/Ter embryos decreased to half of that in wild-type embryos, while the expression of the short mutant DND1 was not detected. We also found that double mutants for Dnd1 and Nanos2 or Nanos3 showed synergistic increase in the incidence of STTs. These data support the idea that Ter causes Dnd1 loss, leading to an increase in STT incidence, and that DND1 acts with NANOS2 and NANOS3 to regulate the development of teratoma from PGCs in the 129 genetic background. Thus, our results clarify the role of Dnd1 in the development of STTs and provide a novel insight into its pathogenic mechanism.