Delivering the Lateral Inhibition Punchline: It's All About the Timing
ABSTRACT Experimental and theoretical biologists have long been fascinated with the emergence of self-organizing patterns in developing organisms, and much attention has focused on Notch-mediated lateral inhibition. Within sheets of cells that may adopt either of two possible cell fates, lateral inhibition establishes patterns through the activity of a negative intercellular feedback loop involving the receptor, Notch, and its ligands Delta or Serrate. Despite a long history of intensive study in Drosophila, where the mechanism was first described, as well as in other organisms, new work continues to yield important insights. Mathematical modeling, combined with biological analyses, has now shed light on two features of the process: how antagonistic and activating ligand-receptor interactions work together to accelerate inhibition and ensure fidelity, and how filopodial dynamics contribute to the observed pattern refinement and spacing.
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ABSTRACT: Stem cells are maintained in a specialized microenvironment called niche but the nature of stem cell niche remains poorly defined in many systems. Here we demonstrate that intestinal epithelium-derived BMP serves as a niche signal for intestinal stem cell (ISC) self-renewal in Drosophila adult midgut. We find that BMP signaling is asymmetric between ISC and its differentiated daughter cell. Two BMP ligands, Dpp and Gbb, are produced by enterocytes and act in conjunction to promote ISC self-renewal by antagonizing Notch signaling. Furthermore, the basement membrane-associated type IV collagens regulate ISC self-renewal by confining higher BMP signaling to ISCs. The employment of gut epithelia as a niche for stem cell self-renewal may provide a mechanism for direct communication between the niche and the environment, allowing niche signal production and stem cell number to be fine-tuned in response to various physiological and pathological stimuli. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.01857.001.eLife Sciences 03/2014; 3:e01857. DOI:10.7554/eLife.01857 · 8.52 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Notch signaling is involved in cell fate choices during the embryonic development of Metazoa. Commonly, Notch signaling arises from the binding of the Notch receptor to its ligands in adjacent cells driving cell-to-cell communication. Yet, cell-autonomous control of Notch signaling through both ligand-dependent and ligand-independent mechanisms is known to occur as well. Examples include Notch signaling arising in the absence of ligand binding, and cis-inhibition of Notch signaling by titration of the Notch receptor upon binding to its ligands within a single cell. Increasing experimental evidences support that the binding of the Notch receptor with its ligands within a cell (cis-interactions) can also trigger a cell-autonomous Notch signal (cis-signaling), whose potential effects on cell fate decisions and patterning remain poorly understood. To address this question, herein we mathematically and computationally investigate the cell states arising from the combination of cis-signaling with additional Notch signaling sources, which are either cell-autonomous or involve cell-to-cell communication. Our study shows that cis-signaling can switch from driving cis-activation to effectively perform cis-inhibition and identifies under which conditions this switch occurs. This switch relies on the competition between Notch signaling sources, which share the same receptor but differ in their signaling efficiency. We propose that the role of cis-interactions and their signaling on fine-grained patterning and cell fate decisions is dependent on whether they drive cis-inhibition or cis-activation, which could be controlled during development. Specifically, cis-inhibition and not cis-activation facilitates patterning and enriches it by modulating the ratio of cells in the high-ligand expression state, by enabling additional periodic patterns like stripes and by allowing localized patterning highly sensitive to the precursor state and cell-autonomous bistability. Our study exemplifies the complexity of regulations when multiple signaling sources share the same receptor and provides the tools for their characterization.PLoS ONE 04/2014; 9(4):e95744. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0095744 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Drosophila Enhancer of split M8, an effector of Notch signaling, is regulated by protein kinase CK2. The phosphatase PP2A is thought to play an opposing (inhibitory) role, but the identity of the regulatory subunit was unknown. The studies described here reveal a role for the PP2A regulatory subunit widerborst (wdb) in three developmental contexts; the bristle, wing and the R8 photoreceptors of the eye. wdb overexpression elicits bristle and wing defects akin to reduced Notch signaling, whereas hypomorphic mutations in this PP2A subunit elicit opposite effects. We have also evaluated wdb functions using mutations in Notch and E(spl) that affect the eye. We find that the eye and R8 defects of the well-known Nspl mutation are enhanced by a hypomorphic allele of wdb, whereas they are strongly rescued by wdb overexpression. Similarly, ectopic wdb rescues the eye and R8 defects of the E(spl)D mutation, which affects the m8 gene. In addition, wdb overexpression also rescues the bristle defects of ectopically expressed M8, or the eye and R8 defects of its CK2 phosphomimetic variant M8-S159D. The latter finding suggests that PP2A may target M8 at highly conserved residues in the vicinity of the CK2 site, whose phosphorylation controls repression of Atonal and the R8 fate. Together, the studies identify PP2A-Wdb as a participant in Notch signaling, and suggest that M8 activity is controlled by phosphorylation and dephosphorylation. The conservation of the phosphorylation sites between Drosophila E(spl) and the HES/HER proteins from mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and fish raises the prospect that this mode of regulation is widespread.PLoS ONE 07/2014; 9(7):e101884. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0101884 · 3.53 Impact Factor