Tnni1b-ECR183-d2, an 87 bp cardiac enhancer of zebrafish.
ABSTRACT: Background:Several heart malformations are associated with mutations in the regulatory regions of cardiac genes. Troponin I type 1b (tnni1b) is important for the formation of the atrioventricular canal in zebrafish hearts; however, the regulation of tnni1b is poorly understand. We aimed to identify a small but functional enhancer that is distal to tnni1b. Methods:Evolutionary Conserved Region (ECR) Browser was used to analyze the 219 kb zebrafish and human genomes covering the tnni1b gene as well as the 100 kb regions upstream and downstream of tnni1b. Putative transcription factor binding sites (TFBSs) were analyzed using JASPAR and PROMO, and the enhancer activity was identified using zebrafish embryos and the luciferase reporter assay. A correlation analysis between the enhancer and transcription factors (TFs) was performed via TF overexpression and TFBS mutation experiments and the electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA). To analyze the conservation between zebrafish and human enhancers, human DNA fragments were functionally verified. Images were captured and analyzed by fluorescence microscopy or confocal microscopy. Results:Combined with comparative analysis and functional validation, we identified a 183 bp ECR (termed tnni1b-ECR183) that was located approximately 84 kb upstream of tnni1b that had the heart-specific enhancer activity in zebrafish. TFBS analysis and the enhancer activity detection assay data showed that the 87 bp core region (termed tnni1b-ECR183-d2) was capable of driving specific GFP expression near the atrioventricular junction and increased luciferase expression in HEK293 and HL1 cell lines. The GFP pattern in zebrafish embryos was similar to the expression profiles of tnni1b. A correlation analysis showed that the enhancer activity of tnni1b-ECR183-d2 was increased when NKX2.5 (p = 0.0006) or JUN (p < 0.0001) was overexpressed and was decreased when the TFBSs of NKX2.5 (p < 0.0001) or JUN (p = 0.0018) were mutated. In addition, DNA-protein interactions were not observed between these TFs and tnni1b-ECR183-d2 in the EMSA experiment. The conservation analysis showed that tnni1b-ECR183-h179 (aligned from tnni1b-ECR183) drove GFP expression in the heart and skeletal muscles and increased the luciferase expression after NKX2.5 (p < 0.0001), JUN (p < 0.0001) or ETS1 (p < 0.0001) was overexpressed. Interestingly, the truncated fragment tnni1b-ECR183-h84 mainly drove GFP expression in the skeletal muscles of zebrafish and the enhancer activity decreased when NKX2.5 (p = 0.0028), ETS1 (p = 0.0001) or GATA4 (p < 0.0001) was overexpressed. Conclusions:An 87 bp cardiac-specific enhancer located 84 kb upstream of tnni1b in zebrafish was positively correlated with NKX2.5 or JUN. The zebrafish and human enhancers in this study target different tissues. The GFP expression mediated by tnni1b-ECR183-d2 is a valuable tool for marking the domain around the atrioventricular junction.
Project description:Prep1 is a developmentally essential TALE class homeodomain transcription factor. In zebrafish and mouse, Prep1 is already ubiquitously expressed at the earliest stages of development, with important tissue-specific peculiarities. The Prep1 gene in mouse is developmentally essential and has haploinsufficient tumor suppressor activity . We have determined the human Prep1 transcription start site (TSS) by primer extension analysis and identified, within 20 bp, the transcription start region (TSR) of the zebrafish Prep1.1 promoter. The functions of the zebrafish 5' upstream sequences were analyzed both by transient transfections in Hela Cells and by injection in zebrafish embryos. This analysis revealed a complex promoter with regulatory sequences extending up to -1.8, possibly -5.0 Kb, responsible for tissue specific expression. Moreover, the first intron contains a conserved tissue-specific enhancer both in zebrafish and in human cells. Finally, a two nucleotides mutation of an EGR-1 site, conserved in all species including human and zebrafish and located at a short distance from the TSS, destroyed the promoter activity of the -5.0 Kb promoter. A transgenic fish expressing GFP under the -1.8 Kb zebrafish promoter/enhancer co-expressed GFP and endogenous Prep1.1 during embryonic development. In the adult fish, GFP was expressed in hematopoietic regions like the kidney, in agreement with the essential function of Prep1 in mouse hematopoiesis. Sequence comparison showed conservation from man to fish of the sequences around the TSS, within the first intron enhancer. Moreover, about 40% of the sequences spread throughout the 5 Kbof the zebrafish promoter are concentrated in the -3 to -5 Kb of the human upstream region.
Project description:The zebrafish ventricular myosin heavy chain (vmhc) gene exhibits restricted expression in the ventricle. However, the molecular mechanism underlying this chamber-specific expression is unclear. Here, we exploited both transient and transgenic technologies to dissect the zebrafish vmhc promoter. We demonstrated that a combination of two transient assays in this animal model quickly identified chamber-specific cis-elements, isolating a 2.2 kb fragment upstream from the vmhc gene that can drive ventricle-specific expression. Furthermore, deletion analysis identified multiple cis-elements that exhibited cardiac-specific expression. To achieve chamber specificity, a distal element was required to coordinate with and suppress a proximal enhancer element. Finally, we discovered that Nkx2.5-binding sites (NKE) were essential for this repressive function. In summary, our study of the zebrafish vmhc promoter suggests that ventricle-specific expression is achieved through an inhibitory mechanism that suppresses expression in the atrium. Developmental Dynamics 238:1564-1573, 2009. (c) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Project description:We have used zebrafish embryos to dissect the promoter activity of a gene with a complex expression pattern during embryogenesis. GATA-2 is a transcription factor required for hematopoiesis and is dynamically expressed in hematopoietic tissues and in the central nervous system. Using constructs containing zebrafish GATA-2 genomic flanking sequences and the green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter gene, we demonstrate that distinct regulatory domains are required for hematopoietic, enveloping layer (EVL), and neuronal expression of GATA-2. During gastrulation, GFP expression is confined to the ventral ectoderm and lateral mesoderm and is lacking in the dorsal shield. Cells derived from the regions expressing GFP give rise to hematopoietic progenitors, EVL cells, and neurons. Deletion analysis of the 7.3-kb GATA-2 promoter region revealed that a 1.1-kb DNA sequence is critical for expression of GATA-2 in neurons. Fine mapping revealed that a 31-bp region is required for neuron enhancer activity, and mutagenesis showed that the DNA motif CCCTCCT is essential for GATA-2 promoter activity in the central nervous system of zebrafish. Our use of zebrafish embryos can be exploited as a whole animal system for the dissection of any developmentally regulated vertebrate promoter.
Project description:Myf5 is one member of the basic helix-loop-helix family of transcription factors, and it functions as a myogenic factor that is important for the specification and differentiation of muscle cells. The expression of myf5 is somite- and stage-dependent during embryogenesis through a delicate regulation. However, this complex regulatory mechanism of myf5 is not clearly understood.We isolated a 156-kb bacterial artificial chromosome clone that includes an upstream 80-kb region and a downstream 70-kb region of zebrafish myf5 and generated a transgenic line carrying this 156-kb segment fused to a green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter gene. We find strong GFP expression in the most rostral somite and in the presomitic mesoderm during segmentation stages, similar to endogenous myf5 expression. Later, the GFP signals persist in caudal somites near the tail bud but are down-regulated in the older, rostral somites. During the pharyngula period, we detect GFP signals in pectoral fin buds, dorsal rostral myotomes, hypaxial myotomes, and inferior oblique and superior oblique muscles, a pattern that also corresponds well with endogenous myf5 transcripts. To characterize the specific upstream cis-elements that regulate this complex and dynamic expression pattern, we also generated several transgenic lines that harbor various lengths within the upstream 80-kb segment. We find that (1) the -80 kb/-9977 segment contains a fin and cranial muscle element and a notochord repressor; (2) the -9977/-6213 segment contains a strong repressive element that does not include the notochord-specific repressor; (3) the -6212/-2938 segment contains tissue-specific elements for bone and spinal cord; (4) the -2937/-291 segment contains an eye enhancer, and the -2937/-2457 segment is required for notochord and myocyte expression; and (5) the -290/-1 segment is responsible for basal transcription in somites and the presomitic mesoderm.We suggest that the cell lineage-specific expression of myf5 is delicately orchestrated by multiple modules within the distal upstream region. This study provides an insight to understand the molecular control of myf5 and myogenesis in the zebrafish.
Project description:Mutations in transcription factor NKX2.5 cause congenital heart disease (CHD). We identified a CHD family with atrial septal defects (ASDs), atrioventricular block, ventricular noncompaction, syncope and sudden death. Our objective is to identify the disease-causing mutation in the CHD family.Direct DNA sequence analysis was used to identify the CHD mutation. The functional effects of the mutation were characterized by a luciferase reporter assay and immunostaining.A novel, de novo 2-bp insertion (c.512insGC) was identified in exon 2 of NKX2.5. Mutation c.512insGC co-segregates with CHD in the family, and is not present in 200 controls. Functional studies indicate that the c.512insGC mutation impedes nuclear localization of NKX2.5 and causes a total loss of transactivation activity of NKX2.5. Furthermore, no NKX2.5 mutation was identified in 125 sporadic Chinese CHD patients.(1) NKX2.5 mutation c.512insGC is associated with ASDs, syncope and sudden death. It is the second de novo mutation identified in NKX2.5. (2) NKX2.5 mutations are rare in sporadic CHD patients. (3) This study for the first time identifies association between a NKX2.5 mutation and ventricular noncompaction. Our results significantly expand the phenotypic spectrum of NKX2.5 mutations.
Project description:BACKGROUND: We have developed genetic methods in zebrafish by using the Tol2 transposable element; namely, transgenesis, gene trapping, enhancer trapping and the Gal4FF-UAS system. Gene trap constructs contain a splice acceptor and the GFP or Gal4FF (a modified version of the yeast Gal4 transcription activator) gene, and enhancer trap constructs contain the zebrafish hsp70l promoter and the GFP or Gal4FF gene. By performing genetic screens using these constructs, we have generated transgenic zebrafish that express GFP and Gal4FF in specific cells, tissues and organs. Gal4FF expression is visualized by creating double transgenic fish carrying a Gal4FF transgene and the GFP reporter gene placed downstream of the Gal4-recognition sequence (UAS). Further, the Gal4FF-expressing cells can be manipulated by mating with UAS effector fish. For instance, when fish expressing Gal4FF in specific neurons are crossed with the UAS:TeTxLC fish carrying the tetanus neurotoxin gene downstream of UAS, the neuronal activities are inhibited in the double transgenic fish. Thus, these transgenic fish are useful to study developmental biology and neurobiology. DESCRIPTION: To increase the usefulness of the transgenic fish resource, we developed a web-based database named zTrap http://kawakami.lab.nig.ac.jp/ztrap/. The zTrap database contains images of GFP and Gal4FF expression patterns, and genomic DNA sequences surrounding the integration sites of the gene trap and enhancer trap constructs. The integration sites are mapped onto the Ensembl zebrafish genome by in-house Blat analysis and can be viewed on the zTrap and Ensembl genome browsers. Furthermore, zTrap is equipped with the functionality to search these data for expression patterns and genomic loci of interest. zTrap contains the information about transgenic fish including UAS reporter and effector fish. CONCLUSION: zTrap is a useful resource to find gene trap and enhancer trap fish lines that express GFP and Gal4FF in desired patterns, and to find insertions of the gene trap and enhancer trap constructs that are located within or near genes of interest. These transgenic fish can be utilized to observe specific cell types during embryogenesis, to manipulate their functions, and to discover novel genes and cis-regulatory elements. Therefore, zTrap should facilitate studies on genomics, developmental biology and neurobiology utilizing the transgenic zebrafish resource.
Project description:Previous studies have demonstrated that inhibition of canonical Wnt signaling promotes zebrafish heart regeneration and that treatment of injured heart tissue with the Wnt activator 6-bromo-indirubin-3-oxime (BIO) can impede cardiomyocyte proliferation. However, the mechanism by which Wnt signaling regulates downstream gene expression following heart injury remains unknown. In this study, we have demonstrated that inhibition of injury-induced myocardial wnt2bb and jnk1/creb1/c-jun signaling impedes heart repair following apex resection. The expression of jnk1, creb1, and c-jun were inhibited in wnt2bb dominant negative (dn) mutant hearts and elevated in wnt2bb-overexpresssing hearts following ventricular amputation. The overexpression of creb1 sufficiently rescued the dn-wnt2bb-induced phenotype of reduced nkx2.5 expression and attenuated heart regeneration. In addition, wnt2bb/jnk1/c-jun/creb1 signaling was increased in Tg(hsp70l:dkk1) transgenic fish, whereas it was inhibited in Tg(hsp70l:wnt8) transgenic fish, indicating that canonical Wnt and non-canonical Wnt antagonize each other to regulate heart regeneration. Overall, the results of our study demonstrate that the wnt2bb-mediated jnk1/c-jun/creb1 non-canonical Wnt pathway regulates cardiomyocyte proliferation.
Project description:The aim of this study was to isolate cis-acting regulatory elements for the generation of transgenic zebrafish models of neurodegeneration. Zebrafish enolase-2 (eno2) showed neuronal expression increasing from 24 to 72 h post-fertilization (hpf) and persisting through adulthood. A 12 kb eno2 genomic fragment, extending from 8 kb upstream of exon 1 to exon 2, encompassing intron 1, was sufficient to drive neuronal reporter gene expression in vivo over a similar time course. Five independent lines of stable Tg(eno2 : GFP) zebrafish expressed GFP widely in neurons, including populations with relevance to neurodegeneration, such as cholinergic neurons, dopaminergic neurons and cerebellar Purkinje cells. We replaced the exon 2-GFP fusion gene with a cDNA encoding the 4-repeat isoform of the human microtubule-associated protein Tau. The first intron of eno2 was spliced with high fidelity and efficiency from the chimeric eno2-Tau transcript. Tau was expressed at approximately 8-fold higher levels in Tg(eno2 : Tau) zebrafish brain than normal human brain, and localized to axons, neuropil and ectopic neuronal somatic accumulations resembling neurofibrillary tangles. The 12 kb eno2 promoter drives high-level transgene expression in differentiated neurons throughout the CNS of stable transgenic zebrafish. This regulatory element will be useful for the construction of transgenic zebrafish models of neurodegeneration.
Project description:Second heart field (SHF) progenitors perform essential functions during mammalian cardiogenesis. We recently identified a population of cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs) in zebrafish expressing latent TGF?-binding protein 3 (ltbp3) that exhibits several defining characteristics of the anterior SHF in mammals. However, ltbp3 transcripts are conspicuously absent in anterior lateral plate mesoderm (ALPM), where SHF progenitors are specified in higher vertebrates. Instead, ltbp3 expression initiates at the arterial pole of the developing heart tube. Because the mechanisms of cardiac development are conserved evolutionarily, we hypothesized that zebrafish SHF specification also occurs in the ALPM. To test this hypothesis, we Cre/loxP lineage traced gata4(+) and nkx2.5(+) ALPM populations predicted to contain SHF progenitors, based on evolutionary conservation of ALPM patterning. Traced cells were identified in SHF-derived distal ventricular myocardium and in three lineages in the outflow tract (OFT). We confirmed the extent of contributions made by ALPM nkx2.5(+) cells using Kaede photoconversion. Taken together, these data demonstrate that, as in higher vertebrates, zebrafish SHF progenitors are specified within the ALPM and express nkx2.5. Furthermore, we tested the hypothesis that Nkx2.5 plays a conserved and essential role during zebrafish SHF development. Embryos injected with an nkx2.5 morpholino exhibited SHF phenotypes caused by compromised progenitor cell proliferation. Co-injecting low doses of nkx2.5 and ltbp3 morpholinos revealed a genetic interaction between these factors. Taken together, our data highlight two conserved features of zebrafish SHF development, reveal a novel genetic relationship between nkx2.5 and ltbp3, and underscore the utility of this model organism for deciphering SHF biology.
Project description:Huntington's disease (HD), an inherited neurodegenerative disorder, results from an abnormal polyglutamine extension in the N-terminal region of the huntingtin protein. This mutation leads to protein aggregation and neurotoxicity. Despite its widespread expression in the brain and body, mutated huntingtin causes selective degeneration of striatal projection neurons. In the present study, we investigate the role of dopamine (DA) in this preferential vulnerability. Using primary cultures of striatal neurons transiently expressing GFP-tagged-exon 1 of mutated huntingtin, we show that low doses of DA (100 microM) act synergistically with mutated huntingtin to activate the proapoptotic transcription factor c-Jun. Surprisingly, DA also increases aggregate formation of mutated huntingtin in all cellular compartments, including neurites, soma, and nuclei. DA-dependent potentiation of c-Jun activation was reversed by ascorbate, a reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenger, and SP-600125, a selective inhibitor of the c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) pathway. By contrast, DA effects on aggregate formation were reversed by a selective D2 receptor antagonist and reproduced by a D2 agonist. Similarly, striatal neurons from D2 knockout mice showed no effect of DA on aggregate formation. Blocking ROS production, JNK activation, or D2 receptor stimulation significantly reversed DA aggravation of mutated huntingtin-induced striatal death. The combined treatment with the ROS scavenger and D2 antagonist totally reversed DA's effects on mutated huntingtin-induced striatal death. Thus, the present results provide insights into the cellular mechanisms that govern striatal vulnerability in HD and strongly support a dual role of JNK activation and D2 receptor signaling in this process.