Gene expression in the Gli3Xt/Xt Vs wildtype developing limb
ABSTRACT: We used microarray technology to investigate the transcriptional consequences of loss of Gli3 from the anterior mesenchyme of the developing mouse limb bud at both E11.5 and E12.5. Comparisons were made between RNA derived from the anterior margin of Gli3Xt/Xt limb buds and that derived from wild type littermates Keywords: genetic modification Overall design: The experiment contains a series of pairwise comparisons between staged mutant Gli3(Xt/Xt) and WT anterior portions of limb bud at 11.5dpc and 12.5dpc. Forelimbs and hindlimbs were studied independently given the developmental delay between limb buds.
Project description:Limb skeletal elements originate from the limb progenitor cells, which undergo expansion and patterning to develop each skeletal element. Posterior-distal skeletal elements, such as the ulna/fibula and posterior digits develop in a Sonic hedgehog (Shh)-dependent manner. However, it is poorly understood how anterior-proximal elements, such as the humerus/femur, the radius/tibia and the anterior digits, are developed. Here we show that the zinc finger factors Sall4 and Gli3 cooperate for proper development of the anterior-proximal skeletal elements and also function upstream of Shh-dependent posterior skeletal element development. Conditional inactivation of Sall4 in the mesoderm before limb outgrowth caused severe defects in the anterior-proximal skeletal elements in the hindlimb. We found that Gli3 expression is reduced in Sall4 mutant hindlimbs, but not in forelimbs. This reduction caused posteriorization of nascent hindlimb buds, which is correlated with a loss of anterior digits. In proximal development, Sall4 integrates Gli3 and the Plzf-Hox system, in addition to proliferative expansion of cells in the mesenchymal core of nascent hindlimb buds. Whereas forelimbs developed normally in Sall4 mutants, further genetic analysis identified that the Sall4-Gli3 system is a common regulator of the early limb progenitor cells in both forelimbs and hindlimbs. The Sall4-Gli3 system also functions upstream of the Shh-expressing ZPA and the Fgf8-expressing AER in fore- and hindlimbs. Therefore, our study identified a critical role of the Sall4-Gli3 system at the early steps of limb development for proper development of the appendicular skeletal elements.
Project description:Current models hold that the early limb field becomes polarized into anterior and posterior domains by the opposing activities of Hand2 and Gli3. This polarization is essential for the initiation of Shh expression in the posterior margin of the limb bud, but how this polarity is established is not clear. Here we show that initial anteroposterior polarization of the early forelimb field requires the function of all four Hox9 paralogs (Hoxa9, Hoxb9, Hoxc9, and Hoxd9). This is unexpected, given that only HoxA and HoxD AbdB group genes have been shown to play a role in forelimb patterning, regulating the activation and maintenance of Shh expression and subsequent proximal-distal patterning of the forelimb. Our analysis of Hox9 quadruple mutants demonstrates that Hox9 function is required for the expression of Hand2 in the posterior limb field. Subsequently, Gli3 expression is not repressed posteriorly, Shh expression is not initiated, and collinear expression of HoxA/D10-13 is not established, resulting in severely malformed forelimbs lacking all posterior, Shh-regulated elements. This Hox9 mutant phenotype is restricted to the forelimbs; mutant hindlimbs are normal, revealing fundamental differences in the patterning mechanisms governing the establishment of forelimb and hindlimb fields.
Project description:Variation in digit number has occurred multiple times in the history of archosaur evolution. The five digits of dinosaur limbs were reduced to three in bird forelimbs, and were further reduced in the vestigial forelimbs of the emu. Regulation of digit number has been investigated previously by examining genes involved in anterior-posterior patterning in forelimb buds among emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae), chicken (Gallus gallus) and zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata). It was described that the expression of posterior genes are conserved among these three birds, whereas expression of anterior genes Gli3 and Alx4 varied significantly. Here we re-examined the expression pattern of Gli3 and Alx4 in the forelimb of emu, chicken and zebra finch. We found that Gli3 is expressed in the anterior region, although its range varied among species, and that the expression pattern of Alx4 in forelimb buds is broadly conserved in a stage-specific manner. We also found that the dynamic expression pattern of the BMP antagonist Gremlin1 (Grem1) in limb buds, which is critical for autopodial expansion, was consistent with the digital pattern of emu, chicken and zebra finch. Furthermore, in emu, variation among individuals was observed in the width of Grem1 expression in forelimb buds, as well as in the adult skeletal pattern. Our results support the view that the signalling system that regulates the dynamic expression of Grem1 in the limb bud contributes substantially to variations in avian digital patterns.
Project description:Gli3 is a major regulator of Hedgehog signaling during limb development. In the anterior mesenchyme, GLI3 is proteolytically processed into GLI3R, a truncated repressor form that inhibits Hedgehog signaling. Although numerous studies have identified mechanisms that regulate Gli3 function in vitro, it is not completely understood how Gli3 function is regulated in vivo. In this study, we show a novel mechanism of regulation of GLI3R activities in limb buds by Gata6, a member of the GATA transcription factor family. We show that conditional inactivation of Gata6 prior to limb outgrowth by the Tcre deleter causes preaxial polydactyly, the formation of an anterior extra digit, in hindlimbs. A recent study suggested that Gata6 represses Shh transcription in hindlimb buds. However, we found that ectopic Hedgehog signaling precedes ectopic Shh expression. In conjunction, we observed Gata6 and Gli3 genetically interact, and compound heterozygous mutants develop preaxial polydactyly without ectopic Shh expression, indicating an additional prior mechanism to prevent polydactyly. These results support the idea that Gata6 possesses dual roles during limb development: enhancement of Gli3 repressor function to repress Hedgehog signaling in the anterior limb bud, and negative regulation of Shh expression. Our in vitro and in vivo studies identified that GATA6 physically interacts with GLI3R to facilitate nuclear localization of GLI3R and repressor activities of GLI3R. Both the genetic and biochemical data elucidates a novel mechanism by Gata6 to regulate GLI3R activities in the anterior limb progenitor cells to prevent polydactyly and attain proper development of the mammalian autopod.
Project description:In the limb bud, patterning along the anterior-posterior (A-P) axis is controlled by Sonic Hedgehog (Shh), a signaling molecule secreted by the "Zone of Polarizing Activity", an organizer tissue located in the posterior margin of the limb bud. We have found that the transcription factors GATA4 and GATA6, which are key regulators of cell identity, are expressed in an anterior to posterior gradient in the early limb bud, raising the possibility that GATA transcription factors may play an additional role in patterning this tissue. While both GATA4 and GATA6 are expressed in an A-P gradient in the forelimb buds, the hindlimb buds principally express GATA6 in an A-P gradient. Thus, to specifically examine the role of GATA6 in limb patterning we generated Prx1-Cre; GATA6(fl/fl) mice, which conditionally delete GATA6 from their developing limb buds. We found that these animals display ectopic expression of both Shh and its transcriptional targets specifically in the anterior mesenchyme of the hindlimb buds. Loss of GATA6 in the developing limbs results in the formation of preaxial polydactyly in the hindlimbs. Conversely, forced expression of GATA6 throughout the limb bud represses expression of Shh and results in hypomorphic limbs. We have found that GATA6 can bind to chromatin (isolated from limb buds) encoding either Shh or Gli1 regulatory elements that drive expression of these genes in this tissue, and demonstrated that GATA6 works synergistically with FOG co-factors to repress expression of luciferase reporters driven by these sequences. Most significantly, we have found that conditional loss of Shh in limb buds lacking GATA6 prevents development of hindlimb polydactyly in these compound mutant embryos, indicating that GATA6 expression in the anterior region of the limb bud blocks hindlimb polydactyly by repressing ectopic expression of Shh.
Project description:The anterior-posterior patterning of the vertebrate limb bud requires closely coordinated signaling interactions, including Sonic Hedgehog (Shh)-mediated counteraction of the Gli3 transcription factor in the distal and posterior mesenchyme of the limb bud. Suppressor of Fused (Sufu), an intracellular negative regulator of Shh signaling via Gli2 and Gli3, is implicated in early development of the mouse limb bud. However, how Sufu is involved in the genetic regulation of limb bud patterning still remains elusive. In this study, we show that the conditional deletion of Sufu in the mesenchyme of the early limb bud results in polydactyly with loss of digit identity and supernumerary bones in the wrist and the ankle. These pattern alterations are associated with anterior expansion of HoxD genes located at the 5' end of the cluster. By focusing on gene expression analysis of Shh/Gremlin1/Fgf signaling critical for the establishment and maintenance of anterior-posterior patterning, we show that early response to loss of Sufu involves anterior prolongation of Fgf4 and Fgf8 expression in the apical ectodermal ridge at E10.5. We also reveal the anterior activation of Shh-dependent posterior markers Ptc1, Gli1 and Gremlin in limb buds lacking Sufu. Furthermore, we find that loss of Sufu leads to attenuated levels of repressor Gli2 and repressor Gli3 in the early limb bud. Moreover, expression of Hand2 is activated in the entire limb bud at the early outgrowth stage in the mutant lacking Sufu. Thus, we provide evidence that Sufu is involved in the genetic network that restricts the posterior expression of Gli2/3/Hand2 and Gremlin/Fgf in limb bud patterning.
Project description:The genetic networks that govern vertebrate development are well studied, but how the interactions of trans-acting factors with cis-regulatory modules (CRMs) are integrated into spatiotemporal regulation of gene expression is not clear. The transcriptional regulator HAND2 is required during limb, heart, and branchial arch development. Here, we identify the genomic regions enriched in HAND2 chromatin complexes from mouse embryos and limb buds. Then we analyze the HAND2 target CRMs in the genomic landscapes encoding transcriptional regulators required in early limb buds. HAND2 controls the expression of genes functioning in the proximal limb bud and orchestrates the establishment of anterior and posterior polarity of the nascent limb bud mesenchyme by impacting Gli3 and Tbx3 expression. TBX3 is required downstream of HAND2 to refine the posterior Gli3 expression boundary. Our analysis uncovers the transcriptional circuits that function in establishing distinct mesenchymal compartments downstream of HAND2 and upstream of SHH signaling.
Project description:Polydactyly is a common malformation and can be an isolated anomaly or part of a pleiotropic syndrome. The elucidation of the mutated genes that cause polydactyly provides insight into limb development pathways. The extra-toes spotting (Xs) mouse phenotype manifests anterior polydactyly, predominantly in the forelimbs, with ventral hypopigmenation. The mapping of Xs(J) to chromosome 7 was confirmed, and the interval was narrowed to 322 kb using intersubspecific crosses. Two mutations were identified in eukaryotic translation initiation factor 3 subunit C (Eif3c). An Eif3c c.907C>T mutation (p.Arg303X) was identified in Xs(J), and a c.1702_1758del mutation (p.Leu568_Leu586del) was identified in extra-toes spotting-like (Xsl), an allele of Xs(J). The effect of the Xs(J) mutation on the SHH/GLI3 pathway was analyzed by in situ hybridization analysis, and we show that Xs mouse embryos have ectopic Shh and Ptch1 expression in the anterior limb. In addition, anterior limb buds show aberrant Gli3 processing, consistent with perturbed SHH/GLI3 signaling. Based on the occurrence of Eif3c mutations in 2 Xs lines and haploinsufficiency of the Xs(J) allele, we conclude that the Xs phenotype is caused by a mutation in Eif3c, a component of the translation initiation complex, and that the phenotype is associated with aberrant SHH/GLI3 signaling.
Project description:Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signal, mediated by the Gli family of transcription factors, plays an essential role in the growth and patterning of the limb. Through analysis of the early limb bud transcriptome, we identified a posteriorly-enriched gene, Hyaluronic Acid Synthase 2 (Has2), which encodes a key enzyme for the synthesis of hyaluronan (HA), as a direct target of Gli transcriptional regulation during early mouse limb development. Has2 expression in the limb bud is lost in Shh null and expanded anteriorly in Gli3 mutants. We identified an ?3kb Has2 promoter fragment that contains two strong Gli-binding consensus sequences, and mutation of either site abrogated the ability of Gli1 to activate Has2 promoter in a cell-based assay. Additionally, this promoter fragment is sufficient to direct expression of a reporter gene in the posterior limb mesenchyme. Chromatin immunoprecipitation of DNA-Gli3 protein complexes from limb buds indicated that Gli3 strongly binds to the Has2 promoter region, suggesting that Has2 is a direct transcriptional target of the Shh signaling pathway. We also showed that Has2 conditional mutant (Has2cko) hindlimbs display digit-specific patterning defects with longitudinally shifted phalangeal joints and impaired chondrogenesis. Has2cko limbs show less capacity for mesenchymal condensation with mislocalized distributions of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs), aggrecan and link protein. Has2cko limb phenotype displays striking resemblance to mutants with defective chondroitin sulfation suggesting tight developmental control of HA on CSPG function. Together, our study identifies Has2 as a novel downstream target of Shh signaling required for joint patterning and chondrogenesis.
Project description:The polarization of nascent embryonic fields and the endowment of cells with organizer properties are key to initiation of vertebrate organogenesis. One such event is antero-posterior (AP) polarization of early limb buds and activation of morphogenetic Sonic Hedgehog (SHH) signaling in the posterior mesenchyme, which in turn promotes outgrowth and specifies the pentadactylous autopod. Inactivation of the Hand2 transcriptional regulator from the onset of mouse forelimb bud development disrupts establishment of posterior identity and Shh expression, which results in a skeletal phenotype identical to Shh deficient limb buds. In wild-type limb buds, Hand2 is part of the protein complexes containing Hoxd13, another essential regulator of Shh activation in limb buds. Chromatin immunoprecipitation shows that Hand2-containing chromatin complexes are bound to the far upstream cis-regulatory region (ZRS), which is specifically required for Shh expression in the limb bud. Cell-biochemical studies indicate that Hand2 and Hoxd13 can efficiently transactivate gene expression via the ZRS, while the Gli3 repressor isoform interferes with this positive transcriptional regulation. Indeed, analysis of mouse forelimb buds lacking both Hand2 and Gli3 reveals the complete absence of antero-posterior (AP) polarity along the entire proximo-distal axis and extreme digit polydactyly without AP identities. Our study uncovers essential components of the transcriptional machinery and key interactions that set-up limb bud asymmetry upstream of establishing the SHH signaling limb bud organizer.