Low retinoic acid levels mediate regionalization of the Sertoli valve in the terminal segment of mouse seminiferous tubules.
ABSTRACT: In mammalian testes, undifferentiated spermatogonia (Aundiff) undergo differentiation in response to retinoic acid (RA), while their progenitor states are partially maintained by fibroblast growth factors (FGFs). Sertoli valve (SV) is a region located at the terminal end of seminiferous tubule (ST) adjacent to the rete testis (RT), where the high density of Aundiff is constitutively maintained with the absence of active spermatogenesis. However, the molecular and cellular characteristics of SV epithelia still remain unclear. In this study, we first identified the region-specific AKT phosphorylation in the SV Sertoli cells and demonstrated non-cell autonomous specialization of Sertoli cells in the SV region by performing a Sertoli cell ablation/replacement experiment. The expression of Fgf9 was detected in the RT epithelia, while the exogenous administration of FGF9 caused ectopic AKT phosphorylation in the Sertoli cells of convoluted ST. Furthermore, we revealed the SV region-specific expression of Cyp26a1, which encodes an RA-degrading enzyme, and demonstrated that the increased RA levels in the SV region disrupt its pool of Aundiff by inducing their differentiation. Taken together, RT-derived FGFs and low levels of RA signaling contribute to the non-cell-autonomous regionalization of the SV epithelia and its local maintenance of Aundiff in the SV region.
Project description:In mammalian testes, undifferentiated spermatogonia undergo meiotic differentiation in high retinoic acid (RA) signaling states, while their undifferentiated states are maintained by fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) and glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), the major niche factors for spermatogonial stem/progenitor cells, in the basal compartment of the convoluted seminiferous tubules (STs). In the valve-like terminal end of the STs adjacent to the rete testis (RT), the Sertoli valve (SV) epithelia constitutively lack most spermatogenesis activity due in part to high GDNF expression, leading to the SV-specific enrichment of undifferentiated spermatogonia; however, the molecular and cellular characteristics of the SV epithelia are unclear. By performing a Sertoli cell ablation/replacement experiment using a mouse diphtheria toxin receptor-mediated system, we show here that the SV epithelia are non-cell autonomously specified, together with having high AKT phosphorylation, in the Sertoli cells located adjacent to the RT epithelia. RNA analyses revealed constitutively high expression of Cyp26a1, which encodes an RA-degrading enzyme, in the SV region, together with high expression of Fgf9 in the adjacent RT. Exogenous in vivo RA treatment induced meiotic differentiation of the spermatogonia located within the SV region, leading to disruption of the SV structure by the ectopic appearance of adluminal meiotic germ cells in some severely affected STs. We therefore propose that the regionalization and inactive spermatogenesis of SV epithelia are mediated in part by low RA signaling, together with high FGF9 signals in the terminal end of the STs.
Project description:In the terminal end of the seminiferous tubules adjacent to rete testis (RT), there are valve-like structures called Sertoli valve (SV) epithelia. SV epithelia are constitutively missing most spermatogenesis activity partially through high GDNF expression, leading to the SV-specific enrichment of undifferentiated spermatogonia. We used microarrays to elucidate the molecular characterization in the SV epithelia.
Project description:Fibroblast growth factor 9 (FGF9) is an autocrine/paracrine growth factor that plays vital roles in many physiologic processes including embryonic development. Aberrant expression of FGF9 causes human diseases and thus it highlights the importance of controlling FGF9 expression; however, the mechanism responsible for regulation of FGF9 expression is largely unknown. Here, we show the crucial role of an AU-rich element (ARE) in FGF9 3'-untranslated region (UTR) on controlling FGF9 expression. Our data demonstrated that AUF1 binds to this ARE to regulate FGF9 mRNA stability. Overexpression of each isoform of AUF1 (p37, p40, p42 and p45) showed that only the p42 isoform reduced the steady-state FGF9 mRNA. Also, knockdown of p42(AUF1) prolonged the half-life of FGF9 mRNA. The induction of FGF9 mRNA in prostaglandin (PG) E(2)-treated human endometrial stromal cells was accompanied with declined cytoplasmic AUF1. Nevertheless, ablation of AUF1 led to sustained elevation of FGF9 expression in these cells. Our study demonstrated that p42(AUF1) regulates both steady-state and PGE(2)-induced FGF9 mRNA stability through ARE-mediated mRNA degradation. Since almost half of the FGF family members are ARE-containing genes, our findings also suggest that ARE-mediated mRNA decay is a common pathway to control FGFs expression, and it represents a novel RNA regulon to coordinate FGFs homeostasis in various physiological conditions.
Project description:PURPOSE:To investigate the role of fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) in the production of neural retina (NR) and retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) in a human pluripotent stem cell model of early retinal development. METHODS:Human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) lines from an individual with microphthalmia caused by a functional null mutation (R200Q) in visual system homeobox 2 (VSX2), a transcription factor involved in early NR progenitor cell (NRPC) production, and a normal sibling were differentiated along the retinal and forebrain lineages using an established protocol. Quantitative and global gene expression analyses (microarray and RNAseq) were used to investigate endogenous FGF expression profiles in these cultures over time. Based on these results, mutant and control hiPSC cultures were treated exogenously with selected FGFs and subjected to gene and protein expression analyses to determine their effects on RPE and NR production. RESULTS:We found that FGF9 and FGF19 were selectively increased in early hiPSC-derived optic vesicles (OVs) when compared to isogenic cultures of hiPSC-derived forebrain neurospheres. Furthermore, these same FGFs were downregulated over time in (R200Q)VSX2 hiPSC-OVs relative to sibling control hiPSC-OVs. Interestingly, long-term supplementation with FGF9, but not FGF19, partially rescued the mutant retinal phenotype of the (R200Q)VSX2 hiPSC-OV model. However, antagonizing FGF9 in wild-type control hiPSCs did not alter OV development. CONCLUSIONS:Our results show that FGF9 acts in concert with VSX2 to promote NR differentiation in hiPSC-OVs and has potential to be used to manipulate early retinogenesis and mitigate ocular defects caused by functional loss of VSX2 activity. NOTE: Publication of this article is sponsored by the American Ophthalmological Society.
Project description:Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) play diverse roles in several developmental processes. Mutations leading to deregulated FGF signaling can cause human skeletal dysplasias and cancer.(1,2) Here we report a missense mutation (Ser99Asp) in exon 2 of FGF9 in 12 patients with multiple synostoses syndrome (SYNS) in a large Chinese family. In vitro studies demonstrate that FGF9(S99N) is expressed and secreted as efficiently as wild-type FGF9 in transfected cells. However, FGF9(S99N) induces compromised chondrocyte proliferation and differentiation, which is accompanied by enhanced osteogenic differentiation and matrix mineralization of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs). Biochemical analysis reveals that S99N mutation in FGF9 leads to significantly impaired FGF signaling, as evidenced by diminished activity of Erk1/2 pathway and decreased beta-catenin and c-Myc expression when compared with wild-type FGF9. Importantly, the binding of FGF9(S99N) to its receptor is severely impaired although the dimerization ability of mutant FGF9 itself or with wild-type FGF9 is not detectably affected, providing a basis for the defective FGFR signaling. Collectively, our data demonstrate a previously uncharacterized mutation in FGF9 as one of the causes of SYNS, implicating an important role of FGF9 in normal joint development.
Project description:Background:Hair follicle (HF) formation and growth are sustained by epithelial-mesenchymal interaction via growth factors and cytokines. Pivotal roles of FGFs on HF regeneration and neogenesis have been reported mainly in rodent models. FGF expression is regulated by upstream pathways, represented by canonical WNT signaling; however, how FGFs influence on human folliculogenesis remains elusive. The aim of this study is to assess if human scalp-derived fibroblasts (sFBs) are able to modulate their FGF expression profile in response to WNT activation and to evaluate the influence of WNT-activated or suppressed FGFs on folliculogenesis. Methods:Dermal papilla cells (DPCs), dermal sheath cells (DSCs), and sFBs were isolated from the human scalp and cultured independently. The gene expression profile of FGFs in DPCs, DSCs, and sFBs and the influence of WNT activator, CHIR99021, on FGF expression pattern in sFBs were evaluated by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, which were confirmed at protein level by western blotting analysis. The changes in the expression of DPC or keratinocyte (KC) biomarkers under the presence of FGF7 or 9 were examined in both single and co-culture assay of DPCs and/or KCs. The influence of FGF 7 and FGF 9 on hair morphogenesis and growth was analyzed in vivo using mouse chamber assay. Results:In single culture, sFBs were distinguished from DPCs and DSCs by relatively high expression of FGF5 and FGF 18, potential inducers of hair cycle retardation or catagen phase. In WNT-activated state, sFBs downregulated FGF7 while upregulating FGF9, a positive regulator of HF morphogenesis, FGF16 and FGF 20 belonging to the same FGF subfamily. In addition, CHIR99021, a WNT activator, dose-dependently modulated FGF7 and 9 expression to be folliculogenic. Altered expressions of FGF7 and FGF9 by CHIR99021 were confirmed at protein level. Supplementation of FGF9 to cultured DPCs resulted in upregulation of representative DP biomarkers and this tendency was sustained, when DPCs were co-cultured with KCs. In mouse chamber assay, FGF9 increased both the number and the diameter of newly formed HFs, while FGF7 decreased HF diameter. Conclusion:The results implied that sFBs support HF formation by modulating regional FGF expression profile responding to WNT activation.
Project description:Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is closely associated with liver fibrosis. Hepatic stellate cells (HSC) and cancer-associated myofibroblasts are key players in liver fibrogenesis and hepatocarcinogenesis. Overexpression of fibroblast growth factor (FGF) receptors contributes to HCC development and progression. This study aimed to elucidate the role of FGFs in the HSC-HCC crosstalk. Analysis of the expression of the fifteen paracrine FGF-members revealed that FGF9 was only expressed by HSC but not by HCC cells. Also in human HCC tissues, HSC/stromal myofibroblasts were identified as cellular source of FGF9. High expression levels of FGF9 significantly correlated with poor patient survival. Stimulation with recombinant FGF9 induced ERK- and JNK-activation combined with significantly enhanced proliferation, clonogenicity, and migration of HCC cells. Moreover, FGF9 significantly reduced the sensitivity of HCC cells against sorafenib. Protumorigenic effects of FGF9 on HCC cells were almost completely abrogated by the FGFR1/2/3 inhibitor BGJ398, while the selective FGFR4 inhibitor BLU9931 had no significant effect. In conclusion, these data indicate that stroma-derived FGF9 promotes tumorigenicity and sorafenib resistance of HCC cells and FGF9 overexpression correlates with poor prognosis in HCC patients. Herewith, FGF9 appears as potential prognostic marker and novel therapeutic target in HCC.
Project description:Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) 9 and 10 are essential during the pseudoglandular stage of lung development. Mesothelium-produced FGF9 is principally responsible for mesenchymal growth, whereas epithelium-produced FGF9 and mesenchyme-produced FGF10 guide lung epithelial development, and loss of either of these ligands affects epithelial branching. Because FGF9 and FGF10 activate distinct FGF receptors (FGFRs), we hypothesized that they would control distinct developmental processes. Here, we found that FGF9 signaled through epithelial FGFR3 to directly promote distal epithelial fate specification and inhibit epithelial differentiation. By contrast, FGF10 signaled through epithelial FGFR2b to promote epithelial proliferation and differentiation. Furthermore, FGF9-FGFR3 signaling functionally opposed FGF10-FGFR2b signaling, and FGFR3 preferentially used downstream phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathways, whereas FGFR2b relied on downstream mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways. These data demonstrate that, within lung epithelial cells, different FGFRs function independently; they bind receptor-specific ligands and direct distinct developmental functions through the activation of distinct downstream signaling pathways.
Project description:Cetacean body structure and physiology exhibit dramatic adaptations to their aquatic environment. Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) are a family of essential factors that regulate animal development and physiology; however, their role in cetacean evolution is not clearly understood. Here, we sequenced the fin whale genome and analysed FGFs from 8 cetaceans. FGF22, a hair follicle-enriched gene, exhibited pseudogenization, indicating that the function of this gene is no longer necessary in cetaceans that have lost most of their body hair. An evolutionary analysis revealed signatures of positive selection for FGF3 and FGF11, genes related to ear and tooth development and hypoxia, respectively. We found a D203G substitution in cetacean FGF9, which was predicted to affect FGF9 homodimerization, suggesting that this gene plays a role in the acquisition of rigid flippers for efficient manoeuvring. Cetaceans utilize low bone density as a buoyancy control mechanism, but the underlying genes are not known. We found that the expression of FGF23, a gene associated with reduced bone density, is greatly increased in the cetacean liver under hypoxic conditions, thus implicating FGF23 in low bone density in cetaceans. Altogether, our results provide novel insights into the roles of FGFs in cetacean adaptation to the aquatic environment.
Project description:Half a century ago, the apical ectodermal ridge (AER) at the distal tip of the tetrapod limb bud was shown to produce signals necessary for development along the proximal-distal (P-D) axis, but how these signals influence limb patterning is still much debated. Fibroblast growth factor (FGF) gene family members are key AER-derived signals, with Fgf4, Fgf8, Fgf9 and Fgf17 expressed specifically in the mouse AER. Here we demonstrate that mouse limbs lacking Fgf4, Fgf9 and Fgf17 have normal skeletal pattern, indicating that Fgf8 is sufficient among AER-FGFs to sustain normal limb formation. Inactivation of Fgf8 alone causes a mild skeletal phenotype; however, when we also removed different combinations of the other AER-FGF genes, we obtained unexpected skeletal phenotypes of increasing severity, reflecting the contribution that each FGF can make to the total AER-FGF signal. Analysis of the compound mutant limb buds revealed that, in addition to sustaining cell survival, AER-FGFs regulate P-D-patterning gene expression during early limb bud development, providing genetic evidence that AER-FGFs function to specify a distal domain and challenging the long-standing hypothesis that AER-FGF signalling is permissive rather than instructive for limb patterning. We discuss how a two-signal model for P-D patterning can be integrated with the concept of early specification to explain the genetic data presented here.