Spatio-temporal intersection of Lhx3 and Tbx6 defines the cardiac field through synergistic activation of Mesp.
ABSTRACT Mesp encodes a bHLH transcription factor required for specification of the cardiac mesoderm in Ciona embryos. The activities of Macho-1 and beta-catenin, two essential maternal determinants, are required for Mesp expression in the B7.5 blastomeres, which constitute the heart field. The T-box transcription factor Tbx6 functions downstream of Macho-1 as a direct activator of Mesp expression. However, Tbx6 cannot account for the restricted expression of Mesp in the B7.5 lineage since it is expressed throughout the presumptive tail muscles. Here we present evidence that the LIM-homeobox gene Lhx3, a direct target of beta-catenin, is essential for localized Mesp expression. Lhx3 is expressed throughout the presumptive endoderm and B7.5 blastomeres. Thus, the B7.5 blastomeres are the only cells to express sustained levels of the Tbx6 and Lhx3 activators. Like mammalian Lhx3 genes, Ci-Lhx3 encodes two isoforms with distinct N-terminal peptides. The Lhx3a isoform appears to be expressed both maternally and zygotically, while the Lhx3b isoform is exclusively zygotic. Misexpression of Lhx3b is sufficient to induce ectopic Mesp activation in cells expressing Tbx6b. Injection of antisense morpholino oligonucleotides showed that the Lhx3b isoform is required for endogenous Mesp expression. Mutations in the Lhx3 half-site of Tbx6/Lhx3 composite elements strongly reduced the activity of a minimal Mesp enhancer. We discuss the delineation of the heart field by the synergistic action of muscle and gut determinants.
Article: Eomesodermin induces Mesp1 expression and cardiac differentiation from embryonic stem cells in the absence of Activin.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The transcription factor Eomesodermin (Eomes) is involved in early embryonic patterning, but the range of cell fates that it controls as well as its mechanisms of action remain unclear. Here we show that transient expression of Eomes promotes cardiovascular fate during embryonic stem cell differentiation. Eomes also rapidly induces the expression of Mesp1, a key regulator of cardiovascular differentiation, and directly binds to regulatory sequences of Mesp1. Eomes effects are strikingly modulated by Activin signalling: high levels of Activin inhibit the promotion of cardiac mesoderm by Eomes, while they enhance Eomes-dependent endodermal specification. These results place Eomes upstream of the Mesp1-dependent programme of cardiogenesis, and at the intersection of mesodermal and endodermal specification, depending on the levels of Activin/Nodal signalling.EMBO Reports 03/2012; 13(4):355-62. · 7.36 Impact Factor