A conserved retinoic acid response element required for early expression of the homeobox gene Hoxb-1.
ABSTRACT Within the Hoxb homeobox gene complex, Hoxb-1 is the earliest member expressed in the mesoderm and neuroectoderm of primitive streak and presomite embryos, preceding rhombomere-restricted expression in the hindbrain. Ectopic exposure of embryos to retinoic acid alters spatial aspects of Hox gene expression patterns. However, the role of retinoids in regulating these genes during normal development is unclear. We have now identified two enhancers, 3' of the mouse Hoxb-1 gene, which together reconstruct the early endogenous expression pattern and mediate the early ectopic response to retinoic acid. Furthermore, these regions are functionally conserved in both chicken and pufferfish (Fugu rubripes) Hoxb-1 genes. The enhancer that controls the retinoic acid response, and regulates expression predominantly in neuroectoderm, contains a retinoic acid response element (RARE). Point mutations in the RARE abolish expression in neuroectoderm. Therefore, this RARE is not only involved in the ectopic response to retinoic acid, but is also essential for establishing aspects of the early Hoxb-1 expression pattern.
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ABSTRACT: Although retinoic acid (RA) has been implicated as an extrinsic signal regulating forebrain neurogenesis, the processes regulated by RA signaling remain unclear. Here, analysis of retinaldehyde dehydrogenase mutant mouse embryos lacking RA synthesis demonstrates that RA generated by Raldh3 in the subventricular zone of the basal ganglia is required for GABAergic differentiation, whereas RA generated by Raldh2 in the meninges is unnecessary for development of the adjacent cortex. Neurospheres generated from the lateral ganglionic eminence (LGE), where Raldh3 is highly expressed, produce endogenous RA, which is required for differentiation to GABAergic neurons. In Raldh3⁻/⁻ embryos, LGE progenitors fail to differentiate into either GABAergic striatal projection neurons or GABAergic interneurons migrating to the olfactory bulb and cortex. We describe conditions for RA treatment of human embryonic stem cells that result in efficient differentiation to a heterogeneous population of GABAergic interneurons without the appearance of GABAergic striatal projection neurons, thus providing an in vitro method for generation of GABAergic interneurons for further study. Our observation that endogenous RA is required for generation of LGE-derived GABAergic neurons in the basal ganglia establishes a key role for RA signaling in development of the forebrain.PLoS Biology 04/2011; 9(4):e1000609. · 11.45 Impact Factor
Article: Directed neural differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells is a sensitive system for the identification of novel Hox gene effectors.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The evolutionarily conserved Hox family of homeodomain transcription factors plays fundamental roles in regulating cell specification along the anterior posterior axis during development of all bilaterian animals by controlling cell fate choices in a highly localized, extracellular signal and cell context dependent manner. Some studies have established downstream target genes in specific systems but their identification is insufficient to explain either the ability of Hox genes to direct homeotic transformations or the breadth of their patterning potential. To begin delineating Hox gene function in neural development we used a mouse ES cell based system that combines efficient neural differentiation with inducible Hoxb1 expression. Gene expression profiling suggested that Hoxb1 acted as both activator and repressor in the short term but predominantly as a repressor in the long run. Activated and repressed genes segregated in distinct processes suggesting that, in the context examined, Hoxb1 blocked differentiation while activating genes related to early developmental processes, wnt and cell surface receptor linked signal transduction and cell-to-cell communication. To further elucidate aspects of Hoxb1 function we used loss and gain of function approaches in the mouse and chick embryos. We show that Hoxb1 acts as an activator to establish the full expression domain of CRABPI and II in rhombomere 4 and as a repressor to restrict expression of Lhx5 and Lhx9. Thus the Hoxb1 patterning activity includes the regulation of the cellular response to retinoic acid and the delay of the expression of genes that commit cells to neural differentiation. The results of this study show that ES neural differentiation and inducible Hox gene expression can be used as a sensitive model system to systematically identify Hox novel target genes, delineate their interactions with signaling pathways in dictating cell fate and define the extent of functional overlap among different Hox genes.PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(5):e20197. · 4.09 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The vestibular nuclear complex (VNC) consists of a collection of sensory relay nuclei that integrates and relays information essential for coordination of eye movements, balance, and posture. Spanning the majority of the hindbrain alar plate, the rhombomere (r) origin and projection pattern of the VNC have been characterized in descriptive works using neuroanatomical tracing. However, neither the molecular identity nor developmental regulation of individual nucleus of the VNC has been determined. To begin to address this issue, we found that Hoxb1 is required for the anterior-posterior (AP) identity of precursors that contribute to the lateral vestibular nucleus (LVN). Using a gene-targeted Hoxb1-GFP reporter in the mouse, we show that the LVN precursors originate exclusively from r4 and project to the spinal cord in the stereotypic pattern of the lateral vestibulospinal tract that provides input into spinal motoneurons driving extensor muscles of the limb. The r4-derived LVN precursors express the transcription factors Phox2a and Lbx1, and the glutamatergic marker Vglut2, which together defines them as dB2 neurons. Loss of Hoxb1 function does not alter the glutamatergic phenotype of dB2 neurons, but alters their stereotyped spinal cord projection. Moreover, at the expense of Phox2a, the glutamatergic determinants Lmx1b and Tlx3 were ectopically expressed by dB2 neurons. Our study suggests that the Hox genes determine the AP identity and diversity of vestibular precursors, including their output target, by coordinating the expression of neurotransmitter determinant and target selection properties along the AP axis.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(4):e34762. · 4.09 Impact Factor