Project description:Delayed implantation (embryonic diapause) occurs when the embryo at the blastocyst stage achieves a state of suspended animation. During this period, blastocyst growth is very slow, with minimal or no cell division. Nearly 100 mammals in seven different orders undergo delayed implantation, but the underlying molecular mechanisms that direct this process remain largely unknown. In mice, ovariectomy before preimplantation ovarian estrogen secretion on day 4 of pregnancy initiates blastocyst dormancy, which normally lasts for 1-2 weeks by continued progesterone treatment, although blastocyst survival decreases with time. An estrogen injection rapidly activates blastocysts and initiates their implantation in the progesterone-primed uterus. Using this model, here we show that among approximately 20,000 genes examined, only 229 are differentially expressed between dormant and activated blastocysts. The major functional categories of altered genes include the cell cycle, cell signaling, and energy metabolic pathways, particularly highlighting the importance of heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like signaling in blastocyst-uterine crosstalk in implantation. The results provide evidence that the two different physiological states of the blastocyst, dormancy and activation, are molecularly distinguishable in a global perspective and underscore the importance of specific molecular pathways in these processes. This study has identified candidate genes that provide a scope for in-depth analysis of their functions and an opportunity for examining their relevance to blastocyst dormancy and activation in numerous other species for which microarray analysis is not available or possible due to very limited availability of blastocysts.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Bud dormancy is a crucial stage in perennial trees and allows survival over winter to ensure optimal flowering and fruit production. Recent work highlighted physiological and molecular events occurring during bud dormancy in trees. However, they usually examined bud development or bud dormancy in isolation. In this work, we aimed to further explore the global transcriptional changes happening throughout bud development and dormancy onset, progression and release. RESULTS:Using next-generation sequencing and modelling, we conducted an in-depth transcriptomic analysis for all stages of flower buds in several sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) cultivars that are characterized for their contrasted dates of dormancy release. We find that buds in organogenesis, paradormancy, endodormancy and ecodormancy stages are defined by the expression of genes involved in specific pathways, and these are conserved between different sweet cherry cultivars. In particular, we found that DORMANCY ASSOCIATED MADS-box (DAM), floral identity and organogenesis genes are up-regulated during the pre-dormancy stages while endodormancy is characterized by a complex array of signalling pathways, including cold response genes, ABA and oxidation-reduction processes. After dormancy release, genes associated with global cell activity, division and differentiation are activated during ecodormancy and growth resumption. We then went a step beyond the global transcriptomic analysis and we developed a model based on the transcriptional profiles of just seven genes to accurately predict the main bud dormancy stages. CONCLUSIONS:Overall, this study has allowed us to better understand the transcriptional changes occurring throughout the different phases of flower bud development, from bud formation in the summer to flowering in the following spring. Our work sets the stage for the development of fast and cost effective diagnostic tools to molecularly define the dormancy stages. Such integrative approaches will therefore be extremely useful for a better comprehension of complex phenological processes in many species.
Project description:Winter dormancy is an important biological feature for tea plant to survive cold winters, and it also affects the economic output of tea plant, one of the few woody plants in the world whose leaves are harvested and one of the few non-conifer evergreen species with characterized dormancies. To discover the bud dormancy regulation mechanism of tea plant in winter, we analyzed the global gene expression profiles of axillary buds at the paradormancy, endodormancy, ecodormancy, and bud flush stages by RNA-Seq analysis. In total, 16,125 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified among the different measured conditions. Gene set enrichment analysis was performed on the DEGs identified from each dormancy transition. Enriched gene ontology terms, gene sets and transcription factors were mainly associated with epigenetic mechanisms, phytohormone signaling pathways, and callose-related cellular communication regulation. Furthermore, differentially expressed transcription factors as well as chromatin- and phytohormone-associated genes were identified. GI-, CAL-, SVP-, PHYB-, SFR6-, LHY-, ZTL-, PIF4/6-, ABI4-, EIN3-, ETR1-, CCA1-, PIN3-, CDK-, and CO-related gene sets were enriched. Based on sequence homology analysis, we summarized the key genes with significant expression differences in poplar and tea plant. The major molecular pathways involved in tea plant dormancy regulation are consistent with those of poplar to a certain extent; however, the gene expression patterns varied. This study provides the global transcriptome profiles of overwintering buds at different dormancy stages and is meaningful for improving the understanding of bud dormancy in tea plant.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Vegetative buds provide plants in temperate environments the possibility for growth and reproduction when environmental conditions are favorable. In grapevine, crucial developmental events take place within buds during two growing seasons in consecutive years. The first season, the shoot apical meristem within the bud differentiates all the basic elements of the shoot including flowering transition in lateral primordia and development of inflorescence primordia. These events practically end with bud dormancy. The second season, buds resume shoot growth associated to flower formation and development. Gene expression has been previously monitored at specific stages of bud development but has never been followed along the two growing seasons. RESULTS: Gene expression changes were analyzed along the bud annual cycle at eight different time points. Principal Components Analysis (PCA) revealed that the main factors explaining the global gene expression differences were the processes of bud dormancy and active growth as well as stress responses. Accordingly, non dormant buds showed an enrichment in functional categories typical of actively proliferating and growing cells together with the over abundance of transcripts belonging to stress response pathways. Differential expression analyses performed between consecutive time points indicated that major transcriptional changes were associated to para/endodormancy, endo/ecodormancy and ecodormancy/bud break transitions. Transcripts encoding key regulators of reproductive development were grouped in three major expression clusters corresponding to: (i) transcripts associated to flowering induction, (ii) transcripts associated to flower meristem specification and initiation and (iii) transcripts putatively involved in dormancy. Within this cluster, a MADS-box gene (VvFLC2) and other transcripts with similar expression patterns could participate in dormancy regulation. CONCLUSIONS: This work provides a global view of major transcriptional changes taking place along bud development in grapevine, highlighting those molecular and biological functions involved in the main events of bud development. As reported in other woody species, the results suggest that genes regulating flowering could also be involved in dormancy regulatory pathways in grapevine.
Project description:Current knowledge of the molecular regulation of the blastocyst implantation event has been largely derived from studies in the mouse that requires ovarian estrogen for initiation of the implantation event. However, there are species such as the hamster, guinea pig, pig, horse, rhesus monkey and perhaps the human where the blastocyst implantation event initiates only in the progesterone-primed uterus. Despite this fundamental difference in the requirement of ovarian hormones in initiating blastocyst implantation among species, efforts to identify gene networks relevant for the blastocyst implantation event in progesteroneM-bM-^@M-^Sdependent species are limited. In this study, cDNA prepared from RNAs of day 5 blastocyst implantation and interimplantation sites were hybridized with mouse and human oligonucleotide microarray platforms to discern the transcriptional networks underlying the regulation of blastocyst implantation in hamsters. Compared with the inter-implantation site, blastocyst implantation sites showed upregulation and downregulation of a sizable number of genes by both cross-species arrays.The merit of the cross-species hybridization and reliability of the identified up- and down-regulated genes at the implantation sites were validated by detecting differential expression of a few randomly selected genes from both arrays by real-time PCR. Function gene ontology and pathway analysis revealed that differentially expressed genes are associated with several biological events and molecular pathways that are likely to be taking place at the blastocyst implantation site. This is the first study that identified the differential gene expression profile at the blastocyst implantation site of the hamsters, and revealed molecular pathways that are possibly associated with the progesterone-dependent blastocyst implantation process. We used microarrays to detail the expression differences in hamster implantation and interimplantation sites. Total RNAs were prepared from the hamster day 5 blastocyst implantation and interimplantation sites. Three sets of RNAs were isolated from three different animals and were subjected to microarray analysis using Affymetrix mouse and human array platforms.
Project description:The substantial epigenetic remodeling that occurs during early stages of mammalian embryonic development likely contributes to reprogramming the parental genomes from a differentiated to a totipotent state and activation of the embryonic genome. Trimethylation of lysine 27 of histone 3 (H3K27me3) is a repressive mark that undergoes global dynamic changes during preimplantation development of several species. To ascertain the role of H3K27me3 in bovine preimplantation development we perturbed the activity of KDM6B, which demethylates H3K27me3. Knockdown of maternal KDM6B mRNA inhibited the reduction in global levels of H3K27me3 from 2-cell to 8-cell embryo stages and compromised development to the blastocyst stage; embryos that developed to the blastocyst stage had fewer inner cell mass (ICM) and trophectoderm (TE) cells. In addition, the transcriptome of KDM6B knockdown embryos was altered at the 8-cell stage and characterized by downregulation of transcripts related to transcriptional regulation, chromatin remodeling, and protein catabolism. Inhibiting the catalytic activity of KDM6B with a specific small molecule inhibitor also prevented the global decrease in H3K27me3 and compromised development to the blastocyst stage. These results indicate that histone demethylation activity, mediated by KDM6B, is required for the global decrease in H3K27me3, correct activation of the embryonic genome, and development to the blastocyst stage in bovine embryos.
Project description:The activation of the blastocyst, a process by which it gains competency to attach with the receptive uterus, is a prerequisite for successful implantation. However, the molecular basis of blastocyst activation remains largely unexplored. Combining molecular, pharmacological and physiological approaches, we show here that silencing of Wnt-beta-catenin signaling in mice does not adversely affect the development of preimplantation embryos to blastocysts and uterine preparation for receptivity, but, remarkably, blocks blastocyst competency to implantation. Using the physiologically relevant delayed implantation model and trophoblast stem cells in culture, we further demonstrate that a coordinated activation of canonical Wnt-beta-catenin signaling with attenuation of the non-canonical Wnt-RhoA signaling pathway ensures blastocyst competency to implantation. These findings constitute novel evidence that Wnt signaling is at least one pathway that determines blastocyst competency for implantation.
Project description:Seeds maintain a dormant state to withstand adverse conditions and germinate when conditions become favourable to give rise to a new generation of flowering plants. Seed dormancy and germination are tightly controlled by internal and external signals. Although phytochrome photoreceptors are proposed to regulate primary seed dormancy, the underlying molecular mechanism remains elusive. Here we show that the REVEILLE1 (RVE1) and RVE2 transcription factors promote primary seed dormancy and repress red/far-red-light-reversible germination downstream of phytochrome B (phyB) in Arabidopsis thaliana. RVE1 and RVE2 expression is downregulated after imbibition and by phyB. RVE1 directly binds to the promoter of GIBBERELLIN 3-OXIDASE 2, inhibits its transcription and thus suppresses the biosynthesis of bioactive gibberellins. In addition, DELAY OF GERMINATION 1 also acts downstream of phyB. This study identifies a signalling pathway that integrates environmental light input with internal factors to control both seed dormancy and germination.
Project description:Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) sustain hematopoiesis throughout life. HSCs exit dormancy to restore hemostasis in response to stressful events, such as acute blood loss, and must return to a quiescent state to prevent their exhaustion and resulting bone marrow failure. HSC activation is driven in part through the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT/mTORC1 signaling pathway, but less is known about the cell-intrinsic pathways that control HSC dormancy. Here, we delineate an ERK-dependent, rate-limiting feedback mechanism that controls HSC fitness and their re-entry into quiescence. We show that the MEK/ERK and PI3K pathways are synchronously activated in HSCs during emergency hematopoiesis and that feedback phosphorylation of MEK1 by activated ERK counterbalances AKT/mTORC1 activation. Genetic or chemical ablation of this feedback loop tilts the balance between HSC dormancy and activation, increasing differentiated cell output and accelerating HSC exhaustion. These results suggest that MEK inhibitors developed for cancer therapy may find additional utility in controlling HSC activation.
Project description:The delayed implantation model was used to study epidermal growth factor receptor(s) (EGF-R) in the mouse blastocyst. Delayed implantation and blastocyst dormancy were induced by ovariectomy on day 4 of pregnancy and were maintained by daily (days 5-7) injections of progesterone (P4). Blastocyst activation and implantation were initiated by coinjection of estradiol-17 beta (E2) with P4 on the 3rd day of delay. Immunostaining of EGF-R, autoradiographic detection of 125I-labeled EGF binding, and measurement of EGF-inducible subcellular protein tyrosine phosphorylation demonstrated the loss of EGF-R from blastocysts (dormant) recovered 24 h after ovariectomy or on the 3rd day of P4-maintained delay. However, increased EGF-R levels were detected in blastocysts (activated) recovered 12 or 24 h after E2 injection. Blastocyst EGF-R mRNA levels were quantitated by reverse transcriptase (RT)-PCR and distribution of this mRNA was examined by in situ hybridization. To provide a homologous probe for these studies, a mouse EGF-R partial cDNA was cloned and used as the template for synthesis of antisense- and sense-strand EGF-R RNA. Quantitative RT-PCR demonstrated an 8- to 10-fold reduction in EGF-R mRNA copies per cell in dormant blastocysts. In contrast, an 8-fold increase in EGF-R mRNA copies per cell was detected in activated blastocysts 8 h after injection of E2. In situ hybridization detected EGF-R mRNA in most cells of normal day 4 blastocysts but not in those of dormant blastocysts. These studies establish that expression of the EGF-R gene in mouse blastocysts is tightly regulated by maternal steroid hormonal status.