FGF Modulates the Axial Identity of Trunk hPSC-Derived Neural Crest but Not the Cranial-Trunk Decision.
ABSTRACT: The neural crest is a transient embryonic tissue that gives rise to a multitude of derivatives in an axially restricted manner. An in vitro counterpart to neural crest can be derived from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) and can be used to study neural crest ontogeny and neurocristopathies, and to generate cells for therapeutic purposes. In order to successfully do this, it is critical to define the specific conditions required to generate neural crest of different axial identities, as regional restriction in differentiation potential is partly cell intrinsic. WNT and FGF signaling have been implicated as inducers of posterior fate, but the exact role that these signals play in trunk neural crest formation remains unclear. Here, we present a fully defined, xeno-free system for generating trunk neural crest from hPSCs and show that FGF signaling directs cells toward different axial identities within the trunk compartment while WNT signaling is the primary determinant of trunk versus cranial identity.
Project description:The in vitro generation of neural crest (NC) cells from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) is a valuable approach to study human NC biology and isolate NC derivatives for disease modelling/regenerative medicine applications. However, conventional differentiation protocols induce only a modest yield of NC cells corresponding to the trunk level. Here we show that trunk NC cells and, their downstream derivatives, sympathoadrenal progenitors, can be produced at a high efficiency from hPSC-derived axial progenitors, the in vitro counterparts of the posteriorly-located drivers of embryonic axis elongation. Moreover, using transcriptome analysis, we define the molecular signatures associated with the emergence of human NC cells of distinct axial identities. Collectively, our findings indicate that a post-cranial NC state is achieved through two different routes: the birth of cardiac and vagal NC is facilitated by retinoic acid-induced posteriorisation of an anterior precursor whereas a trunk fate relies on a posterior axial progenitor intermediate. Overall design: Gene expression profiling utilised total RNA extracted from ES cells (N=3); hPSC derived Cranial neural crest precursors (N=3); hPSC derived Cranial neural crest cells (N=3); hPSC derived Cranial neural crest cells after RA treatment to posteriorise (N=3); hPSC derived Neuromesodermal progenitors (N=3); hPSC derived Trunk neural crest progenitors (N=3); hPSC derived trunk neural crest cells (N=3)
Project description:The neural crest (NC) is a multipotent embryonic cell population that generates distinct cell types in an axial position-dependent manner. The production of NC cells from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) is a valuable approach to study human NC biology. However, the origin of human trunk NC remains undefined and current in vitro differentiation strategies induce only a modest yield of trunk NC cells. Here we show that hPSC-derived axial progenitors, the posteriorly-located drivers of embryonic axis elongation, give rise to trunk NC cells and their derivatives. Moreover, we define the molecular signatures associated with the emergence of human NC cells of distinct axial identities in vitro. Collectively, our findings indicate that there are two routes toward a human post-cranial NC state: the birth of cardiac and vagal NC is facilitated by retinoic acid-induced posteriorisation of an anterior precursor whereas trunk NC arises within a pool of posterior axial progenitors.
Project description:Neural crest cells have broad migratory and differentiative ability that differs according to their axial level of origin. However, their transient nature has limited understanding of their stem cell and self-renewal properties. While an in vitro culture method has made it possible to maintain cranial neural crest cells as self-renewing multipotent crestospheres (Kerosuo et al., 2015), these same conditions failed to preserve trunk neural crest in a stem-like state. Here we optimize culture conditions for maintenance of avian trunk crestospheres, comprised of both neural crest stem and progenitor cells. Our trunk-derived crestospheres are multipotent and display self-renewal capacity over several weeks. Trunk crestospheres display elevated expression of neural crest cell markers as compared to those characteristic of ventrolateral neural tube or mesodermal fates. Moreover, trunk crestospheres express increased levels of trunk neural crest-enriched markers as compared to cranial crestospheres. Finally, we use lentiviral transduction as a tool to manipulate gene expression in trunk crestospheres. Taken together, this method enables long-term in vitro maintenance and manipulation of multipotent trunk neural crest cells in a premigratory stem or early progenitor state. Trunk crestospheres are a valuable resource for probing mechanisms underlying neural crest stemness and lineage decisions as well as accompanying diseases.
Project description:Neural crest precursors to the autonomic nervous system form different derivatives depending upon their axial level of origin; for example, vagal, but not trunk, neural crest cells form the enteric ganglia of the gut. Here, we show that Slit2 is expressed at the entrance of the gut, which is selectively invaded by vagal, but not trunk, neural crest. Accordingly, only trunk neural crest cells express Robo receptors. In vivo and in vitro experiments demonstrate that trunk, not vagal, crest cells avoid cells or cell membranes expressing Slit2, thereby contributing to the differential ability of neural crest populations to invade and innervate the gut. Conversely, exposure to soluble Slit2 significantly increases the distance traversed by trunk neural crest cells. These results suggest that Slit2 can act bifunctionally, both repulsing and stimulating the motility of trunk neural crest cells.
Project description:The neural crest is a multipotent stem cell population that arises from the dorsal aspect of the neural tube and generates both non-ectomesenchymal (melanocytes, peripheral neurons and glia) and ectomesenchymal (skeletogenic, odontogenic, cartilaginous and connective tissue) derivatives. In amniotes, only cranial neural crest generates both classes, with trunk neural crest restricted to non-ectomesenchyme. By contrast, it has been suggested that anamniotes might generate derivatives of both classes at all axial levels, with trunk neural crest generating fin osteoblasts, scale mineral-forming cells and connective tissue cells; however, this has not been fully tested. The cause and evolutionary significance of this cranial/trunk dichotomy, and its absence in anamniotes, are debated. Recent experiments have disputed the contribution of fish trunk neural crest to fin osteoblasts and scale mineral-forming cells. This prompted us to test the contribution of anamniote trunk neural crest to fin connective tissue cells. Using genetics-based lineage tracing in zebrafish, we find that these fin mesenchyme cells derive entirely from the mesoderm and that neural crest makes no contribution. Furthermore, contrary to previous suggestions, larval fin mesenchyme cells do not generate the skeletogenic cells of the adult fin, but persist to form fibroblasts associated with adult fin rays. Our data demonstrate that zebrafish trunk neural crest does not generate ectomesenchymal derivatives and challenge long-held ideas about trunk neural crest fate. These findings have important implications for the ontogeny and evolution of the neural crest.
Project description:WNT/?-catenin signaling is crucial for neural crest (NC) formation, yet the effects of the magnitude of the WNT signal remain ill-defined. Using a robust model of human NC formation based on human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), we expose that the WNT signal modulates the axial identity of NCs in a dose-dependent manner, with low WNT leading to anterior OTX+ HOX- NC and high WNT leading to posterior OTX- HOX+ NC. Differentiation tests of posterior NC confirm expected derivatives, including posterior-specific adrenal derivatives, and display partial capacity to generate anterior ectomesenchymal derivatives. Furthermore, unlike anterior NC, posterior NC exhibits a transient TBXT+/SOX2+ neuromesodermal precursor-like intermediate. Finally, we analyze the contributions of other signaling pathways in posterior NC formation, which suggest a crucial role for FGF in survival/proliferation, and a requirement of BMP for NC maturation. As expected retinoic acid (RA) and FGF are able to modulate HOX expression in the posterior NC. Surprisingly, early RA supplementation prohibits NC formation. This work reveals for the first time that the amplitude of WNT signaling can modulate the axial identity of NC cells in humans.
Project description:Cartilaginous fishes (e.g., sharks and skates) possess a postcranial dermal skeleton consisting of tooth-like "denticles" embedded within their skin. As with teeth, the principal skeletal tissue of dermal denticles is dentine. In the head, cranial neural crest cells give rise to the dentine-producing cells (odontoblasts) of teeth. However, trunk neural crest cells are generally regarded as nonskeletogenic, and so the embryonic origin of trunk denticle odontoblasts remains unresolved. Here, we use expression of FoxD3 to pinpoint the specification and emigration of trunk neural crest cells in embryos of a cartilaginous fish, the little skate (Leucoraja erinacea). Using cell lineage tracing, we further demonstrate that trunk neural crest cells do, in fact, give rise to odontoblasts of trunk dermal denticles. These findings expand the repertoire of vertebrate trunk neural crest cell fates during normal development, highlight the likely primitive skeletogenic potential of this cell population, and point to a neural crest origin of dentine throughout the ancestral vertebrate dermal skeleton.
Project description:The neural crest is a population of mesenchymal cells that after migrating from the neural tube gives rise to structure and cell types: the jaw, part of the peripheral ganglia, and melanocytes. Although much is known about neural crest development in jawed vertebrates, a clear picture of trunk neural crest development for elasmobranchs is yet to be developed. Here we present a detailed study of trunk neural crest development in the bamboo shark, Chiloscyllium punctatum. Vital labeling with dioctadecyl tetramethylindocarbocyanine perchlorate (DiI) and in situ hybridization using cloned Sox8 and Sox9 probes demonstrated that trunk neural crest cells follow a pattern similar to the migratory paths already described in zebrafish and amphibians. We found shark trunk neural crest along the rostral side of the somites, the ventromedial pathway, the branchial arches, the gut, the sensory ganglia, and the nerves. Interestingly, C. punctatum Sox8 and Sox9 sequences aligned with vertebrate SoxE genes, but appeared to be more ancient than the corresponding vertebrate paralogs. The expression of these two SoxE genes in trunk neural crest cells, especially Sox9, matched the Sox10 migratory patterns observed in teleosts. Also of interest, we observed DiI cells and Sox9 labeling along the lateral line, suggesting that in C. punctatum, glial cells in the lateral line are likely of neural crest origin. Although this has been observed in other vertebrates, we are the first to show that the pattern is present in cartilaginous fishes. These findings demonstrate that trunk neural crest cell development in C. punctatum follows the same highly conserved migratory pattern observed in jawed vertebrates.
Project description:Neural crest cells (NCCs) migrate from different regions along the anterior-posterior axis of the neural tube (NT) to form different structures. Defective NCC development causes congenital neurocristopathies affecting multiple NCC-derived tissues in human. Perturbed Hoxb5 signaling in vagal NCC causes enteric nervous system (ENS) defects. This study aims to further investigate if perturbed Hoxb5 signaling in trunk NCC contributes to defects of other NCC-derived tissues besides the ENS. We perturbed Hoxb5 signaling in NCC from the entire NT, and investigated its impact in the development of tissues derived from these cells in mice. Perturbation of Hoxb5 signaling in these NCC resulted in Sox9 downregulation, NCC apoptosis, hypoplastic sympathetic and dorsal root ganglia, hypopigmentation and ENS defects. Mutant mice with NCC-specific Sox9 deletion also displayed some of these phenotypes. In vitro and in vivo assays indicated that the Sox9 promoter was bound and trans-activated by Hoxb5. In ovo studies further revealed that Sox9 alleviated apoptosis induced by perturbed Hoxb5 signaling, and Hoxb5 induced ectopic Sox9 expression in chick NT. This study demonstrates that Hoxb5 regulates Sox9 expression in NCC and disruption of this signaling causes Sox9 downregulation, NCC apoptosis and multiple NCC-developmental defects. Phenotypes such as ENS deficiency, hypopigmentation and some of the neurological defects are reported in patients with Hirschsprung disease (HSCR). Whether dysregulation of Hoxb5 signaling and early depletion of NCC contribute to ENS defect and other neurocristopathies in HSCR patients deserves further investigation.
Project description:Neural crest cells emerge from the dorsal neural tube early in development and give rise to sensory and sympathetic ganglia, adrenal cells, teeth, melanocytes and especially enteric nervous system. Several inhibitory molecules have been shown to play important roles in neural crest migration, among them are the chemorepulsive Slit1-3. It was known that Slits chemorepellants are expressed at the entry to the gut, and thus could play a role in the differential ability of vagal but not trunk neural crest cells to invade the gut and form enteric ganglia. Especially since trunk neural crest cells express Robo receptor while vagal do not. Thus, although we know that Robo mediates migration along the dorsal pathway in neural crest cells, we do not know if it is responsible in preventing their entry into the gut. The goal of this study was to further corroborate a role for Slit molecules in keeping trunk neural crest cells away from the gut. We observed that when we silenced Robo receptor in trunk neural crest, the sympathoadrenal (somites 18-24) were capable of invading gut mesenchyme in larger proportion than more rostral counterparts. The more rostral trunk neural crest tended not to migrate beyond the ventral aorta, suggesting that there are other repulsive molecules keeping them away from the gut. Interestingly, we also found that when we silenced Robo in sacral neural crest they did not wait for the arrival of vagal crest but entered the gut and migrated rostrally, suggesting that Slit molecules are the ones responsible for keeping them waiting at the hindgut mesenchyme. These combined results confirm that Slit molecules are responsible for keeping the timeliness of colonization of the gut by neural crest cells.