Jane E Johnson

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, United States

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Publications (4)22.46 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Neurosphere formation is commonly used as a surrogate for neural stem cell (NSC) function but the relationship between neurosphere-initiating cells (NICs) and NSCs remains unclear. We prospectively identified, and isolated by flow cytometry, adult mouse lateral ventricle subventricular zone (SVZ) NICs as GlastmidEGFRhighPlexinB2highCD24-/lowO4/PSA-NCAM-/lowTer119/CD45- (GEPCOT) cells. They were highly mitotic and short-lived in vivo based on fate-mapping with Ascl1CreERT2 and Dlx1CreERT2. In contrast, pre-GEPCOT cells were quiescent, expressed higher Glast, and lower EGFR and PlexinB2. Pre-GEPCOT cells could not form neurospheres but expressed the stem cell markers Slc1a3-CreERT, GFAP-CreERT2, Sox2CreERT2, and Gli1CreERT2 and were long-lived in vivo. While GEPCOT NICs were ablated by temozolomide, pre-GEPCOT cells survived and repopulated the SVZ. Conditional deletion of the Bmi-1 polycomb protein depleted pre-GEPCOT and GEPCOT cells, though pre-GEPCOT cells were more dependent upon Bmi-1 for Cdkn2a (p16Ink4a) repression. Our data distinguish quiescent NSCs from NICs and make it possible to study their properties in vivo.
    eLife. 05/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The lineage-specific basic-helix-loop-helix transcription factor Ptf1a is a critical driver for development of both the pancreas and nervous system. How one transcription factor controls diverse programs of gene expression is a fundamental question in developmental biology. To uncover molecular strategies for the program-specific functions of Ptf1a, we identified bound genomic regions in vivo during development of both tissues. Most regions bound by Ptf1a are specific to each tissue, lie near genes needed for proper formation of each tissue, and coincide with regions of open chromatin. The specificity of Ptf1a binding is encoded in the DNA surrounding the Ptf1a-bound sites, because these regions are sufficient to direct tissue-restricted reporter expression in transgenic mice. Fox and Sox factors were identified as potential lineage-specific modifiers of Ptf1a binding, since binding motifs for these factors are enriched in Ptf1a-bound regions in pancreas and neural tube, respectively. Of the Fox factors expressed during pancreatic development, Foxa2 plays a major role. Indeed, Ptf1a and Foxa2 co-localize in embryonic pancreatic chromatin and can act synergistically in cell transfection assays. Together, these findings indicate that lineage-specific chromatin landscapes likely constrain the DNA-binding of Ptf1a, and identify Fox and Sox gene families as part of this process.
    Molecular and cellular biology 06/2013; · 6.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Clara cells of mammalian airways have multiple functions and are morphologically heterogeneous. Although Notch signaling is essential for the development of these cells, it is unclear how Notch influences Clara cell specification and if diversity is established among Clara cell precursors. Here we identify expression of the secretoglobin Scgb3a2 and Notch activation as early events in a program of secretory cell fate determination in developing murine airways. We show that Scgb3a2 expression in vivo is Notch-dependent at early stages and ectopically induced by constitutive Notch1 activation, and also that in vitro Notch signaling together with the pan-airway transcription factor Ttf1 (Nkx2.1) synergistically regulate secretoglobin gene transcription. Furthermore, we identified a subpopulation of secretory precursors juxtaposed to presumptive neuroepithelial bodies (NEBs), distinguished by their strong Scgb3a2 and uroplakin 3a (Upk3a) signals and reduced Ccsp (Scgb1a1) expression. Genetic ablation of Ascl1 prevented NEB formation and selectively interfered with the formation of this subpopulation of cells. Lineage labeling of Upk3a-expressing cells during development showed that these cells remain largely uncommitted during embryonic development and contribute to Clara and ciliated cells in the adult lung. Together, our findings suggest a role for Notch in the induction of a Clara cell-specific program of gene expression, and reveals that the NEB microenvironment in the developing airways is a niche for a distinct subset of Clara-like precursors.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 07/2012; 109(31):12592-7. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Neural progenitor cells within the developing thalamus are spatially organized into distinct populations. Their correct specification is critical for generating appropriate neuronal subtypes in specific locations during development. Secreted signaling molecules, such as sonic hedgehog (Shh) and Wnts, are required for the initial formation of the thalamic primordium. Once thalamic identity is established and neurogenesis is initiated, Shh regulates the positional identity of thalamic progenitor cells. Although Wnt/β-catenin signaling also has differential activity within the thalamus during this stage of development, its significance has not been directly addressed. In this study, we used conditional gene manipulations in mice and explored the roles of β-catenin signaling in the regional identity of thalamic progenitor cells. We found β-catenin is required during thalamic neurogenesis to maintain thalamic fate while suppressing prethalamic fate, demonstrating that regulation of regional fate continues to require extrinsic signals. These roles of β-catenin appeared to be mediated at least partly by regulating two basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factors, Neurog1 and Neurog2. β-Catenin and Shh signaling function in parallel to specify two progenitor domains within the thalamus, where individual transcription factors expressed in each progenitor domain were regulated differently by the two signaling pathways. We conclude that β-catenin has multiple functions during thalamic neurogenesis and that both Shh and β-catenin pathways are important for specifying distinct types of thalamic progenitor cells, ensuring that the appropriate neuronal subtypes are generated in the correct locations.
    Development 06/2012; 139(15):2692-702. · 6.60 Impact Factor