Project description:In Drosophila, efferent neurons gain access to a target-derived BMP signal in the periphery that is required for differentiation and/or synaptic growth and neurotransmission. This requires transcriptional activity of the BMP-activated Smad transcription factors, but the Smad-bound enhancers and BMP-regulated effector genes they control remain unidentified. In the absence of insight into how BMP signaling controls these fundamental aspects of neuronal development and function, here we test whether Smads act directly at widely-deployed archetypal Smad-binding motifs to directly co-regulate batteries of BMP-responsive genes. To target these motifs for analysis, we employed a bioinformatics approach to identify candidate motifs conforming to the consensus 15bp BMP-Activation Element (BMP-AE). After filtering for high conservation and proximity to neuronally-expressed genes, we prioritized 62 BMP-AEs for analysis. Testing the in vivo enhancer activity of 58 genomic fragments containing these BMP-AEs in transgenic reporters, we show that 61% are functional BMP enhancers in diverse motoneuron and neuropeptidergic neuronal populations, and that the BMP-AE motif itself is required for activity. Moreover, 60% of these functional BMP-AEs were located within 20kb of at least one BMP activated gene, as identified by RNAseq analysis. Finally, we show that the BMP-AE motif plays a conserved activator function in the vertebrate nervous system, by electroporation in the developing chick neural tube. Our results provide evidence that BMP signaling controls neuronal development and function by directly coordinating networks of genes through widespread deployment of conserved, consensus Smad-binding motifs. Overall design: RNA sequencing expression profiles of witA12/+ and witA12/B11 Drosophila third instar ventral nerve cords.
Project description:Retrograde Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP) signaling in neurons is essential for the differentiation and synaptic function of many neuronal subtypes. BMP signaling regulates these processes via Smad transcription factor activity, yet the scope and nature of Smad-dependent gene regulation in neurons are mostly unknown. Here, we applied a computational approach to predict Smad-binding cis-regulatory BMP-Activating Elements (BMP-AEs) in Drosophila, followed by transgenic in vivo reporter analysis to test their neuronal subtype enhancer activity in the larval central nervous system (CNS). We identified 34 BMP-AE-containing genomic fragments that are responsive to BMP signaling in neurons, and showed that the embedded BMP-AEs are required for this activity. RNA-seq analysis identified BMP-responsive genes in the CNS and revealed that BMP-AEs selectively enrich near BMP-activated genes. These data suggest that functional BMP-AEs control nearby BMP-activated genes, which we validated experimentally. Finally, we demonstrated that the BMP-AE motif mediates a conserved Smad-responsive function in the Drosophila and vertebrate CNS. Our results provide evidence that BMP signaling controls neuronal function by directly coordinating the expression of a battery of genes through widespread deployment of a conserved Smad-responsive cis-regulatory motif.
Project description:Immediate early genes (IEGs) are expressed upon re-entry of quiescent cells into the cell cycle following serum stimulation. These genes are involved in growth control and differentiation and hence their expression is tightly controlled. Many IEGs are regulated through Serum Response Elements (SREs) in their promoters, which bind Serum Response Factor (SRF). However, many other IEGs do not have SREs in their promoters and their serum regulation is poorly understood. We have identified SRF-independent IEGs in SRF-depleted fibroblasts. One of these, Id1, was examined more closely. We mapped a serum responsive element in the Id1 promoter and find that it is identical to a BMP responsive element (BRE). The Id1 BRE is necessary and sufficient for the serum regulation of Id1. Inhibition of the BMP pathway by siRNA depletion of Smad 4, treatment with the BMP antagonist noggin, or the BMP receptor inhibitor dorsomorphin blocked serum induction of Id1. Further, BMP2 is sufficient to induce Id1 expression. Given reports that SRC inhibitors can block Id1 expression, we tested the SRC inhibitor, AZD0530, and found that it inhibits the serum activation of Id1. Surprisingly, this inhibition is independent of SRC or its family members. Rather, we show that AZD0530 directly inhibits the BMP type I receptors. Serum induction of the Id1 related gene Id3 also required the BMP pathway. Given these and other findings we conclude that the Id family of IEGs is regulated by BMPs in serum through similar BREs. This represents a second pathway for serum regulation of IEGs.
Project description:Transcription of the early response gene XFD-1' (XFKH1) in the dorsal lip (Spemann organizer) of Xenopus embryos is activated by dorsal mesoderm inducing factors. Promoter studies revealed the presence of an activin A response element (ARE) which is both necessary and sufficient for transcriptional activation of reporter genes in animal cap explants incubated with activin A. Surprisingly, this ARE is also active within vegetal explants in the absence of exogenously added inducers, but an additional inhibitory response element prevents transcription of the XFD-1' gene in the ventral/vegetal region of the embryo in vivo. This element is located upstream of the ARE, it responds to bone morphogenic proteins 2 and 4 (BMP-2/4) triggered signals and it overrides the activating properties of the ARE. Expression patterns of BMP-2 and BMP-4 in the late blastula stage embryo and, especially, their absence from the dorsal blastopore lip may thus control the spatial transcription of the XFD-1' gene. Accordingly, the temporal activation and the spatial restriction of XFD-1' gene activity to the Spemann organizer is regulated by antagonistic actions of two distinct members of the TGF-beta family (activin and BMP) which act on different promoter elements.
Project description:Hepcidin plays a major role in the regulation of iron homeostasis. Several bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are strong inducers of hepcidin (Hamp1, HAMP) expression. Hemojuvelin, a protein critical for maintaining appropriate levels of hepcidin, acts as a coreceptor for BMP2 and BMP4, thereby providing a link between iron homeostasis and the BMP-signaling pathway. We show that a robust BMP, hemojuvelin, and SMAD1 response by murine Hamp1 is dependent on a distal BMP responsive element (BMP-RE2), the adjacent bZIP, HNF4alpha/COUP binding sites, and plus or minus 50 bp of the flanking area within -1.6 to -1.7 kb of the Hamp1 promoter. Furthermore, the STAT site and the BMP responsive element (BMP-RE1) located in the proximal 260-bp region of the Hamp1 promoter are also indispensable for maximal activation of hepcidin transcription. The homologous motifs in the distal and proximal regions of the human HAMP promoter act in a manner similar to the murine Hamp1 promoter. Therefore, we propose that the regulation of hepcidin by the BMP pathway involves the formation of a complex of liver-specific and response-specific transcription factors bound to the distal BMP-RE2 /bZIP/HNF4alpha/COUP region and to the proximal BMP-RE1/STAT region possibly by physical association of the 2 regions.
Project description:Retrograde BMP signaling and canonical pMad/Medea-mediated transcription regulate diverse target genes across subsets of Drosophila efferent neurons, to differentiate neuropeptidergic neurons and promote motor neuron terminal maturation. How a common BMP signal regulates diverse target genes across many neuronal subsets remains largely unresolved, although available evidence implicates subset-specific transcription factor codes rather than differences in BMP signaling. Here we examine the cis-regulatory mechanisms restricting BMP-induced FMRFa neuropeptide expression to Tv4-neurons. We find that pMad/Medea bind at an atypical, low affinity motif in the FMRFa enhancer. Converting this motif to high affinity caused ectopic enhancer activity and eliminated Tv4-neuron expression. In silico searches identified additional motif instances functional in other efferent neurons, implicating broader functions for this motif in BMP-dependent enhancer activity. Thus, differential interpretation of a common BMP signal, conferred by low affinity pMad/Medea binding motifs, can contribute to the specification of BMP target genes in efferent neuron subsets.
Project description:Bone morphogenic protein (BMP) signaling is fundamental to development, injury response, and homeostasis. We have developed transgenic zebrafish that report Smad-mediated BMP signaling in embryos and adults. These lines express either enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP), destabilized eGFP, or destabilized Kusabira Orange 2 (KO2) under the well-characterized BMP Response Element (BRE). These fluorescent proteins were found to be expressed dynamically in regions of known BMP signaling including the developing tail bud, hematopoietic lineage, dorsal eye, brain structures, heart, jaw, fins, and somites, as well as other tissues. Responsiveness to changes in BMP signaling was confirmed by observing fluorescence after activation in an hsp70:bmp2b transgenic background or by inhibition in an hsp70:nog3 background. We further demonstrated faithful reportage by the BRE transgenic lines following chemical repression of BMP signaling using an inhibitor of BMP receptor activity, dorsomorphin. Overall, these lines will serve as valuable tools to explore the mechanisms and regulation of BMP signal during embryogenesis, in tissue maintenance, and during disease.
Project description:Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) is a congenital disorder of progressive and widespread postnatal ossification of soft tissues and is without known effective treatments. Affected individuals harbor conserved mutations in the ACVR1 gene that are thought to cause constitutive activation of the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) type I receptor, activin receptor-like kinase-2 (ALK2). Here we show that intramuscular expression in the mouse of an inducible transgene encoding constitutively active ALK2 (caALK2), resulting from a glutamine to aspartic acid change at amino acid position 207, leads to ectopic endochondral bone formation, joint fusion and functional impairment, thus phenocopying key aspects of human FOP. A selective inhibitor of BMP type I receptor kinases, LDN-193189 (ref. 6), inhibits activation of the BMP signaling effectors SMAD1, SMAD5 and SMAD8 in tissues expressing caALK2 induced by adenovirus specifying Cre (Ad.Cre). This treatment resulted in a reduction in ectopic ossification and functional impairment. In contrast to localized induction of caALK2 by Ad.Cre (which entails inflammation), global postnatal expression of caALK2 (induced without the use of Ad.Cre and thus without inflammation) does not lead to ectopic ossification. However, if in this context an inflammatory stimulus was provided with a control adenovirus, ectopic bone formation was induced. Like LDN-193189, corticosteroid inhibits ossification in Ad.Cre-injected mutant mice, suggesting caALK2 expression and an inflammatory milieu are both required for the development of ectopic ossification in this model. These results support the role of dysregulated ALK2 kinase activity in the pathogenesis of FOP and suggest that small molecule inhibition of BMP type I receptor activity may be useful in treating FOP and heterotopic ossification syndromes associated with excessive BMP signaling.
Project description:Bone Morphogenetic Proteins (BMPs) form a group of secreted factors that belongs to the TGF-? superfamily. Among different roles in a number of immune cell types, BMPs are known to regulate T cell development within the thymus, although the role of BMP signaling in human mature T cells remains elusive. In this study, we demonstrate that canonical BMP signaling is necessary during two critical events that regulate the size and function of human naive CD4+ T cell population: activation and homeostasis. Upon stimulation via TCR, naive CD4+ T cells upregulate the expression of BMP ligands triggering canonical BMP signaling in CD25+ cells. Blockade of BMP signaling severely impairs CD4+ T cell proliferation after activation mainly through regulation of IL-2, since the addition of this cytokine recuperates normal T cell expansion after inhibition of BMP signaling. Similarly, activation of canonical BMP pathway is required for both the maintenance of cell survival and the homeostatic proliferation induced by IL-7, a key factor for T cell homeostasis. Moreover, upregulation of two critical receptors for T cell homeostasis, CXCR4 and CCR9, triggered by IL-7 is also abrogated in the absence of BMP signaling. Collectively, we describe important roles of the canonical BMP signaling in human naive CD4+ T cell activation and homeostasis that could be valuable for clinical application.