[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite the importance of the chicken as a model system, our understanding of the development of chicken primordial germ cells (PGCs) is far from complete. Here we characterized the morphology of PGCs at different developmental stages, their migration pattern in the dorsal mesentery of the chicken embryo, and the distribution of the EMA1 epitope on PGCs. The spatial distribution of PGCs during their migration was characterized by immunofluorescence on whole-mounted chicken embryos and on paraffin sections, using EMA1 and chicken vasa homolog antibodies. While in the germinal crescent PGCs were rounded and only 25% of them were labeled by EMA1, often seen as a concentrated cluster on the cell surface, following extravasation and migration in the dorsal mesentery PGCs acquired an elongated morphology, and 90% exhibited EMA1 epitope, which was concentrated at the tip of the pseudopodia, at the contact sites between neighboring PGCs. Examination of PGC migration in the dorsal mesentery of Hamburger and Hamilton stage 20-22 embryos demonstrated a left-right asymmetry, as migration of cells toward the genital ridges was usually restricted to the right, rather than the left, side of the mesentery. Moreover, an examination of another group of cells that migrate through the dorsal mesentery, the enteric neural crest cells, revealed a similar preference for the right side of the mesentery, suggesting that the migratory pathway of PGCs is dictated by the mesentery itself. Our findings provide new insights into the migration pathway of PGCs in the dorsal mesentery, and suggest a link between EMA1, PGC migration and cell-cell interactions. These findings may contribute to a better understanding of the mechanism underlying migration of PGCs in avians.
Journal of Anatomy 05/2014; 224(5):556-63. DOI:10.1111/joa.12163 · 2.10 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Electroporation of the chick embryonic neural tube has many advantages such as being quick and efficient for the expression of foreign genes into neuronal cells. In this manuscript we provide a method that demonstrates uniquely how to electroporate DNA into the avian hindbrain at E2.75 in order to specifically label a subset of neuronal progenitors, and how to follow their axonal projections and synaptic targets at much advanced stages of development, up to E14.5. We have utilized novel genetic tools including specific enhancer elements, Cre/Lox - based plasmids and the PiggyBac-mediated DNA transposition system to drive GFP expression in a subtype of hindbrain cells (the dorsal most subgroup of interneurons, dA1). Axonal trajectories and targets of dA1 axons are followed at early and late embryonic stages at various brainstem regions. This strategy contributes advanced techniques for targeting cells of interest in the embryonic hindbrain and for tracing circuit formation at multiple stages of development.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Complex patterns and networks of genes coordinate rhombomeric identities, hindbrain segmentation and neuronal differentiation and are responsible for later brainstem functions. Pax6 is a highly conserved transcription factor crucial for neuronal development, yet little is known regarding its early roles during hindbrain segmentation. We show that Pax6 expression is highly dynamic in rhombomeres, suggesting an early function in the hindbrain. Utilization of multiple gain- and loss-of-function approaches in chick and mice revealed that loss of Pax6 disrupts the sharp expression borders of Krox20, Kreisler, Hoxa2, Hoxb1 and EphA and leads to their expansion into adjacent territories, whereas excess Pax6 reduces these expression domains. A mutual negative cross-talk between Pax6 and Krox20 allows these genes to be co-expressed in the hindbrain through regulation of the Krox20-repressor gene Nab1 by Pax6. Rhombomere boundaries are also distorted upon Pax6 manipulations, suggesting a mechanism by which Pax6 acts to set hindbrain segmentation. Finally, FGF signaling acts upstream of the Pax6-Krox20 network to regulate Pax6 segmental expression. This study unravels a novel role for Pax6 in the segmental organization of the early hindbrain and provides new evidence for its significance in regional organization along the central nervous system.
Development 04/2013; 140(10). DOI:10.1242/dev.089136 · 6.46 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neural crest cells (NCCs) migrate throughout the embryo to differentiate into cell types of all germ layers. Initial directed NCC emigration relies on planar cell polarity (PCP), which through the activity of the small GTPases RhoA and Rac governs the actin-driven formation of polarized cell protrusions. We found that the actin binding protein calponin 2 (Cnn2) was expressed in protrusions at the leading edge of migratory NCCs in chicks and frogs. Cnn2 knockdown resulted in NCC migration defects in frogs and chicks and randomized outgrowth of cell protrusions in NCC explants. Morphant cells showed central stress fibers at the expense of the peripheral actin network. Cnn2 acted downstream of Wnt/PCP, as migration defects induced by dominant-negative Wnt11 or inhibition of RhoA function were rescued by Cnn2 knockdown. These results suggest that Cnn2 modulates actin dynamics during NCC migration as an effector of noncanonical Wnt/PCP signaling.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Extracellular matrix mineralization is an essential physiologic process in bone, teeth, and hypertrophic cartilage. Matrix Gla protein (MGP), an inhibitor of mineralization, is expressed by chondrocytes and vascular smooth muscle cells to inhibit calcification of those soft tissues. Tibial dyschondroplasia (TD), a skeletal abnormality apparent as a plug of non-vascularized, non-mineralized, white opaque cartilage in the tibial growth plate of avian species can serve as a good model for studying process and genes involved in matrix mineralization and calcification. In this work, we studied the involvement of MGP in the development of TD, as well as in the processes of spontaneous and induced recovery from this syndrome. First, we found that during normal bone development, MGP is expressed in specific time and locations, starting from wide-spread expression in the yet un-ossified diaphysis during embryonic development, to specific expression in hypertrophic chondrocytes adjacent to the chondro-osseous junction and the secondary ossification center just prior to calcification. In addition, we show that MGP is not expressed in the impaired TD lesion, however when the lesion begins to heal, it strongly express MGP prior to its calcification. Moreover, we show that when calcification is inhibited, a gap is formed between the expression zones of MGP and BMP2 and that this gap is closed during the healing process. To conclude, we suggest that MGP, directly or through interaction with BMP2, plays a role as ossification regulator that acts prior to ossification, rather then simple inhibitor.
Frontiers in Endocrinology 07/2012; 3:79. DOI:10.3389/fendo.2012.00079
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The lack of affordable techniques for gene transfer in birds has inhibited the advancement of molecular studies in avian species. Here we demonstrate a new approach for introducing genes into chicken somatic tissues by administration of a lentiviral vector, derived from the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), into the chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) of chick embryos on embryonic day 11. The FIV-derived vectors carried yellow fluorescent protein (YFP) or recombinant alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH) genes, driven by the cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter. Transgene expression, detected in chicks 2 days after hatch by quantitative real-time PCR, was mostly observed in the liver and spleen. Lower expression levels were also detected in the brain, kidney, heart and breast muscle. Immunofluorescence and flow cytometry analyses confirmed transgene expression in chick tissues at the protein level, demonstrating a transduction efficiency of ∼0.46% of liver cells. Integration of the viral vector into the chicken genome was demonstrated using genomic repetitive (CR1)-PCR amplification. Viability and stability of the transduced cells was confirmed using terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (dUTP) nick end labeling (TUNEL) assay, immunostaining with anti-proliferating cell nuclear antigen (anti-PCNA), and detection of transgene expression 51 days post transduction. Our approach led to only 9% drop in hatching efficiency compared to non-injected embryos, and all of the hatched chicks expressed the transgenes. We suggest that the transduction efficiency of FIV vectors combined with the accessibility of the CAM vasculature as a delivery route comprise a new powerful and practical approach for gene delivery into somatic tissues of chickens. Most relevant is the efficient transduction of the liver, which specializes in the production and secretion of proteins, thereby providing an optimal target for prolonged study of secreted hormones and peptides.
PLoS ONE 05/2012; 7(5):e36531. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0036531 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hindbrain dorsal interneurons that comprise the rhombic lip relay sensory information and coordinate motor outputs. The progenitor dA1 subgroup of interneurons, which is formed along the dorsal-most region of the caudal rhombic lip, gives rise to the cochlear and precerebellar nuclei. These centers project sensory inputs toward upper-brain regions. The fundamental role of dA1 interneurons in the assembly and function of these brainstem nuclei is well characterized. However, the precise en route axonal patterns and synaptic targets of dA1 interneurons are not clear as of yet. Novel genetic tools were used to label dA1 neurons and trace their axonal trajectories and synaptic connections at various stages of chick embryos. Using dA1-specific enhancers, two contralateral ascending axonal projection patterns were identified; one derived from rhombomeres 6-7 that elongated in the dorsal funiculus, while the other originated from rhombomeres 2-5 and extended in the lateral funiculus. Targets of dA1 axons were followed at later stages using PiggyBac-mediated DNA transposition. dA1 axons were found to project and form synapses in the auditory nuclei and cerebellum. Investigation of mechanisms that regulate the patterns of dA1 axons revealed a fundamental role of Lim-homeodomain (HD) proteins. Switch in the expression of the specific dA1 Lim-HD proteins Lhx2/9 into Lhx1, which is typically expressed in dB1 interneurons, modified dA1 axonal patterns to project along the routes of dB1 subgroup. Together, the results of this research provided new tools and knowledge to the assembly of trajectories and connectivity of hindbrain dA1 interneurons and of molecular mechanisms that control these patterns.
The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 04/2012; 32(17):5757-71. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4231-11.2012 · 6.34 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Compartment boundaries act as organizing centers that segregate adjacent areas into domains of gene expression and regulation, and control their distinct fates via the secretion of signalling factors. During hindbrain development, a specialized cell-population forms boundaries between rhombomeres. These boundary cells demonstrate unique morphological properties and express multiple genes that differs them from intra-rhombomeric cells. Yet, little is known regarding the mechanisms that controls the expression or function of these boundary markers.
Multiple components of the FGF signaling system, including ligands, receptors, downstream effectors as well as proteoglycans are shown to localize to boundary cells in the chick hindbrain. These patterns raise the possibility that FGF signaling plays a role in regulating boundary properties. We provide evidence to the role of FGF signaling, particularly the boundary-derived FGF3, in regulating the expression of multiple markers at hindbrain boundaries. These findings enable further characterization of the unique boundary-cell population, and expose a new function for FGFs as regulators of boundary-gene expression in the chick hindbrain.
Biology Open 02/2012; 1(2):67-74. DOI:10.1242/bio.2011032 · 2.42 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study determined the role of MMP9/gelatinase B during the migration onset of Neural Crest Cells (NCC) in avian embryos. NCC are neuroepithelial progenitors that convert into mesenchyme and migrate along defined paths throughout the embryo. To engage in migration, NCC loose cell contacts, detach from the neural tube and invade the surrounding environment. Multiple signals and transcription factors that regulate these events have been identified. Nevertheless, little is known regarding effectors that act downstream to execute the actual NCC migration. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) compose a large family of enzymes whose principal substrates are basement membranes, adhesion proteins and the extracellular matrix (ECM) components. A major subgroup of MMPs, the gelatinases (MMP9 and 2) are central to many adult physiological and pathological processes, such as tumor metastasis and angiogenesis, in which cell-cell and cell-matrix contacts are degraded to allow migration. As NCC undergo similar processes during development, we hypothesized that MMP9 may also promote the migration of NCC. MMP9 was found to be expressed in delaminating and migrating NCC of both cranial and trunk axial levels. Blocking MMP9 resulted in a dramatic inhibition of NCC delamination and migration, without perturbing specification or survival. This inhibition occurred at regions containing both premigratory and migrating cells, indicative for the central role of MMP9 in executing the detachment of NCC from the neural tube as well as their migration. Conversely, excess MMP9 enhanced mesenchymalization and delamination of NCC and accelerated progenitors to undergo precocious migration. Examination of the mechanistic activity of MMP9 revealed its capability to degrade the adhesion molecule N-cadherin as well as the basement-membrane protein laminin within or around NCC, respectively. Altogether, our study reveals MMP9 as a novel effector which is required for NCC delamination and migration.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The locus coeruleus (LC) which is the major noradrenergic nucleus in the brain develops under the influence of Bmps secreted by the roof plate and Fgf8 emitted from the mid-hindbrain organizer. We studied the development of the LC in different Bmp mouse mutants and report the absence of this nucleus in Bmp5(-/-);Bmp7(-/-) double knockouts. Notably, genes marking organizers and neuronal populations adjacent to the LC precursor field are unperturbed in Bmp5(-/-);Bmp7(-/-) animals. In addition, we found that in En1(+/Otx2) mutants in which the caudal Otx2 expression domain and thereby the mid-hindbrain organizer are shifted caudally, LC neurons are concomitantly reduced along with Bmp5/7. Complementing these results, Otx1(-/-);Otx2(+/-) mutants, in which the mid-hinbrain organizer is shifted rostrally, show a rostrally extended Bmp5 expression area and an increase in LC neurons. Taken together, our data indicate that LC development requires either Bmp5 or Bmp7, and one is able to compensate for the loss of the other. In addition, we conclude that the position of the mid-hindbrain organizer determines the size of the LC and propose that Bmp5/7 play an important role in mediating this organizer function.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The development of the vertebrate hindbrain requires multiple coordinated signals which act via several pathways. One such signal is Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF), which is necessary for the patterning of a major transcription factor in the hindbrain, Krox20. However, in the chick, it is still not known which specific FGF ligand is responsible for the regulation of Krox20 and how the signal is dispatched. The most characterized signaling pathway which FGF acts through in the nervous system is the MAPK/Erk1/2 pathway. Nevertheless, a detailed analysis of the hindbrain distribution of various components of this pathway has not been fully described. In this study we present a comprehensive atlas of the FGF ligands, receptors and members of the MAPK/Erk1/2 signaling components in subsequent stages of avian hindbrain development. Moreover, we show that FGF is a major signaling pathway that contributes to the activation of ERK1/2 and expression of the downstream targets Pea3 and Erm. Central to this study, we provide multiple evidence that FGF3 is required for the upregulation of Pea3 that in turn is necessary for Krox20 distribution in rhombomeres 3 and 5. These results show for the first time that Pea3 mediates the FGF3 signal to regulate the hindbrain expression of Krox20.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tibial dyschondroplasia (TD) is a prevalent skeletal abnormality associated with rapid growth rate in many avian species. It is characterized by the presence of a nonvascularized, nonmineralized lesion that extends from the epiphyseal growth plate into the metaphysis of the proximal tibiotarsal bones. In this study, we examined the expression of 4 members of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) family (MMP-2, -3, -9, and -13) in thiram-induced TD lesions and in the process of recovery from TD, by in situ hybridization analysis and quantitative real-time PCR. A model for the induction and recovery of TD was established, consisting of 3 groups of broilers: (1) thiram group, chicks fed a thiram-enriched diet to induce TD; (2) recovery group, chicks fed a thiram-enriched diet during the first week of the experiment and a normal diet from the second week on; and (3) control group, chicks fed a normal diet throughout the experimental period. In agreement with our previous data, the 4 MMP were diminished in the TD lesion (P < 0.05); however, in the current study we show that the growth plate was able to repair itself and that the MMP reappeared during the process of recovery from TD. Our results strengthen the link between MMP expression and growth-plate impairment, and we suggest that gelatinase activity (MMP-2 and 9) facilitates this process.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During formation of the vertebrate central nervous system, the hindbrain is organized into segmental units, called rhombomeres (r). These cell-lineage restricted segments are separated by a subpopulation of cells known as boundary cells. Boundary cells display distinct molecular and cellular properties such as an elongated shape, enriched extracellular matrix components and a reduced proliferation rate compared to intra-rhombomeric cells. However, little is known regarding their functions and the mechanisms that regulate their formation.
Hindbrain boundary cells express several signaling molecules, such as FGF3, which at earlier developmental stages is transiently expressed in specific rhombomeres. We show that chick embryos that lack boundary cells due to overexpression of truncated EphA4 receptor in the hindbrain have continued segmental expression of FGF3 at stages when it is normally restricted to hindbrain boundaries. Furthermore, surgical ablation of the boundary between r3 and r4, or blocking of the contact of r4 with boundary cells, results in sustained FGF3 expression in this segment.
These findings suggest that boundary cells are required for the downregulation of segmental FGF3, presumably mediated by a soluble factor(s) that emanates from boundaries. We propose that this new function of boundary cells enables a switch in gene expression that may be required for stage-specific functions of FGF3 in the developing hindbrain.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A network of molecular interactions is required in the developing vertebrate hindbrain for the formation and anterior-posterior patterning of the rhombomeres. FGF signaling is required in this network to upregulate the expression of the Krox20 and Kreisler segmentation genes, but little is known of how FGF gene expression is regulated in the hindbrain. We show that the dynamic expression of FGF3 in chick hindbrain segments and boundaries is similar to that of the BMP antagonist, follistatin. Consistent with a regulatory relationship between BMP signaling and FGF3 expression, we find that an increase in BMP activity due to blocking of follistatin translation by morpholino antisense oligonucleotides or overexpression of BMP results in strong inhibition of FGF3 expression. Conversely, addition of follistatin leads to an increase in the level of FGF3 expression. Furthermore, the segmental inhibition of BMP activity by follistatin is required for the expression of Krox20, Hoxb1 and EphA4 in the hindbrain. In addition, we show that the maintenance of FGF3 gene expression requires FGF activity, suggestive of an autoregulatory loop. These results reveal an antagonistic relationship between BMP activity and FGF3 expression that is required for correct segmental gene expression in the chick hindbrain, in which follistatin enables FGF3 expression by inhibiting BMP activity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Eph receptors and ephrins can sharpen domains within developing tissues by mediating repulsion at interfaces. An Eph receptor has now been shown also to regulate cell adhesion within tissue subdivisions.
Current Biology 04/2005; 15(6):R210-2. DOI:10.1016/j.cub.2005.03.013 · 9.57 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Delamination of premigratory neural crest cells depends on a balance between BMP/noggin and on successful G1/S transition. Here, we report that BMP regulates G1/S transition and consequent crest delamination through canonical Wnt signaling. Noggin overexpression inhibits G1/S transition and blocking G1/S abrogates BMP-induced delamination; moreover, transcription of Wnt1 is stimulated by BMP and by the developing somites, which concomitantly inhibit noggin production. Interfering with beta-catenin and LEF/TCF inhibits G1/S transition, neural crest delamination and transcription of various BMP-dependent genes, which include Cad6B, Pax3 and Msx1, but not that of Slug, Sox9 or FoxD3. Hence, we propose that developing somites inhibit noggin transcription in the dorsal tube, resulting in activation of BMP and consequent Wnt1 production. Canonical Wnt signaling in turn stimulates G1/S transition and generation of neural crest cell motility independently of its proposed role in earlier neural crest specification.
Development 12/2004; 131(21):5327-39. DOI:10.1242/dev.01424 · 6.46 Impact Factor