Distinct roles for SCL in erythroid specification and maturation in zebrafish.
ABSTRACT The stem cell leukemia (SCL) transcription factor is essential for vertebrate hematopoiesis. Using the powerful zebrafish model for embryonic analysis, we compared the effects of either reducing or ablating Scl using morpholino-modified antisense RNAs. Ablation of Scl resulted in the loss of primitive and definitive hematopoiesis, consistent with its essential role in these processes. Interestingly, in embryos with severely reduced Scl levels, erythroid progenitors expressing gata1 and embryonic globin developed. Erythroid maturation was deficient in these Scl hypomorphs, supporting that Scl was required both for the erythroid specification and for the maturation steps, with maturation requiring higher Scl levels than specification. Although all hematopoietic functions were rescued by wild-type Scl mRNA, an Scl DNA binding mutant rescued primitive and definitive hematopoiesis but did not rescue primitive erythroid maturation. Together, we showed that there is a distinct Scl hypomorphic phenotype and demonstrated that distinct functions are required for the roles of Scl in the specification and differentiation of primitive and definitive hematopoietic lineages. Our results revealed that Scl participates in multiple processes requiring different levels and functions. Further, we identified an Scl hypomorphic phenotype distinct from the null state.
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ABSTRACT: The primitive heart tube is composed of an outer myocardial and an inner endocardial layer that will give rise to the cardiac valves and septa. Specification and differentiation of these two cell layers are among the earliest events in heart development, but the embryonic origins and genetic regulation of early endocardial development remain largely undefined. We have analyzed early endocardial development in the zebrafish using time-lapse confocal microscopy and show that the endocardium seems to originate from a region in the lateral plate mesoderm that will give rise to hematopoietic cells of the primitive myeloid lineage. Endocardial precursors appear to rapidly migrate to the site of heart tube formation, where they arrive prior to the bilateral myocardial primordia. Analysis of a newly discovered zebrafish Scl/Tal1 mutant showed an additional and previously undescribed role of this transcription factor during the development of the endocardium. In Scl/Tal1 mutant embryos, endocardial precursors are specified, but migration is severely defective and endocardial cells aggregate at the ventricular pole of the heart. We further show that the initial fusion of the bilateral myocardial precursor populations occurs independently of the endocardium and tal1 function. Our results suggest early separation of the two components of the primitive heart tube and imply Scl/Tal1 as an indispensable component of the molecular hierarchy that controls endocardium morphogenesis.PLoS Genetics 09/2007; 3(8):e140. · 8.69 Impact Factor
Article: Distinct functions for different scl isoforms in zebrafish primitive and definitive hematopoiesis.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The stem-cell leukemia (SCL, also known as TAL1) gene encodes a basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor that is essential for the initiation of primitive and definitive hematopoiesis, erythrocyte and megakarocyte differentiation, angiogenesis, and astrocyte development. Here we report that the zebrafish produces, through an alternative promoter site, a novel truncated scl (tal1) isoform, scl-beta, which manifests a temporal and spatial expression distinct from the previously described full-length scl-alpha. Functional analysis reveals that while scl-alpha and -beta are redundant for the initiation of primitive hematopoiesis, these two isoforms exert distinct functions in the regulation of primitive erythroid differentiation and definitive hematopoietic stem cell specification. We further demonstrate that differences in the protein expression levels of scl-alpha and -beta, by regulating their protein stability, are likely to give rise to their distinct functions. Our findings suggest that hematopoietic cells at different levels of hierarchy are likely governed by a gradient of the Scl protein established through temporal and spatial patterns of expression of the different isoforms.PLoS Biology 06/2007; 5(5):e132. · 11.45 Impact Factor