Cullin-RING ubiquitin ligases (CRLs) mediate the ubiquitination of numerous protein substrates and target them for proteasomal degradation. The function of CRLs is under tight regulation by Cullin-binding proteins. It has been reported that the Spliceosome-associated protein 130 (SAP130/SF3b-3) binds to several Cullin proteins, yet it remains unknown whether SAP130 plays any role in regulating the function of CRLs. Here, we report that SAP130 overexpression reduces the binding of adaptor protein Skp1 and substrate receptor Skp2 to Cul1, whereas it has no effect on CAND1 binding to Cul1. Overexpression of SAP130 decreases the degradation rate of p27, a protein substrate of the SCF(Skp2) ligase. Interestingly, silencing of SAP130 also inhibits the degradation of p27, suggesting a dual role for SAP130 in the regulation of SCF activity. We hypothesized that the regulatory role of SAP130 could extend to other CRLs; however, overexpression of SAP130 is unable to affect the protein stability of the Cul2 and Cul3 substrates, HIF-1 and NRF-2. SAP130 binds to Cul1, Cul2 and Cul4 with similar affinity, and it binds to Cul3 more strongly. SAP130 localizes in both the nucleus and the cytoplasm. Hence, the inability of SAP130 to regulate Cul2 and Cul3 CRLs cannot be explained by low binding affinity of SAP130 to these cullins or by subcellular sequestration of SAP130. We propose a novel role for SAP130 in the regulation of SCF, whereby SAP130 physically competes with the adaptor protein/F-box protein for Cul1 binding and interferes with the assembly of a functional SCF ligase.
Histone deacetylases (HDACs) and RNA polymerase III (POLR3) play vital roles in fundamental cellular processes, and deregulation of these enzymes has been implicated in malignant transformation. Hdacs and Polr3 are required for exocrine pancreatic epithelial proliferation during morphogenesis in zebrafish. We aim to test the hypothesis that Hdacs and Polr3 cooperatively control exocrine pancreatic growth, and combined inhibition of HDACs and POLR3 produces enhanced growth suppression in pancreatic cancer. In zebrafish larvae, combination of a Hdac inhibitor (Trichostatin A) and an inhibitor of Polr3 (ML-60218) synergistically prohibited the expansion of exocrine pancreas. In human pancreatic adenocarcinoma cells, combination of the HDAC inhibitor suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA) and ML-60218 produced augmented suppression of colony formation and proliferation, and induction of cell cycle arrest and apoptotic cell death. The enhanced cytotoxicity was associated with supra-additive upregulation of the pro-apoptotic regulator BAX and the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21(CDKN1A). tRNAs have been shown to have pro-proliferative and anti-apoptotic roles, and SAHA-stimulated expression of tRNAs was reversed by ML-60218. These findings demonstrate that chemically targeting developmental regulators of exocrine pancreas can be translated into an approach with potential impact on therapeutic response in pancreatic cancer, and suggest that counteracting the pro-malignant side effect of HDAC inhibitors can enhance their anti-tumor activity.
This study examined the effects of testosterone (T) on the contractile properties of two sexually dimorphic forelimb muscles and one non-dimorphic muscle in male bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana, Shaw 1802). The dimorphic muscles in castrated males with testosterone replacement (T+) achieved higher forces and lower fatigability than did castrated males without replaced testosterone (T0 males), but the magnitude of the differences was low and many of the pair-wise comparisons of each muscle property were not statistically significant. However, when taken as a whole, the means of seven contractile properties varied in the directions expected of masculine values in T+ animals in the sexually dimorphic muscles. Moreover, these data, compared with previous data on male and female bullfrogs, show that values for T+ males are similar to normal males and are significantly different from females. The T0 males tended to be intermediate in character between T+ males and females, generally retaining masculine values. This suggests that the exposure of young males to T in their first breeding season produces a masculinizing effect on the sexually dimorphic muscles that is not reversed between breeding seasons when T levels are low. The relatively minor differences in contractile properties between T+ and T0 males may indicate that as circulating T levels rise during breeding season in normal males, contractile properties can be enhanced rapidly to maximal functional levels for breeding success.
Studies of skin wound healing in crocodilians are necessary given the frequent occurrence of cannibalism in intensive farming systems. Air temperature affects tissue recovery because crocodilians are ectothermic. Therefore, the kinetics of skin wound healing in Caiman yacare were examined at temperatures of 33°C and 23°C. Sixteen caiman were selected and divided into two groups of eight maintained at 23°C or 33°C. The studied individuals' scars were photographed after 1, 2, 3, 7, 15 and 30 days of the experimental conditions, and samples were collected for histological processing after 3, 7, 15 and 30 days. Macroscopically, the blood clot (heterophilic granuloma) noticeably remained in place covering the wound longer for the caiman kept at 23°C. Microscopically, the temperature of 23°C slowed epidermal migration and skin repair. Comparatively, new blood vessels, labeled using von Willebrand factor (vWF) antibody staining, were more frequently found in the scars of the 33°C group. The collagen fibers in the dermis were denser in the 33°C treatment. Considering the delayed healing at 23°C, producers are recommended to keep wounded animals at 33°C, especially when tanks are cold, to enable rapid wound closure and better repair of collagen fibers because such lesions tend to compromise the use of their skin as leather.
Seahorses are the vertebrate group with the embryonic development occurring within a special pouch in males. To understand the reproductive efficiency of the lined seahorse, Hippocampus erectus Perry, 1810 under controlled breeding experiments, we investigated the dynamics of reproductive rate, offspring survivorship and growth over births by the same male seahorses. The mean brood size of the 1-year old pairs in the 1(st) birth was 85.4±56.9 per brood, which was significantly smaller than that in the 6(th) birth (465.9±136.4 per brood) (P<0.001). The offspring survivorship and growth rate increased with the births. The fecundity was positively correlated with the length of brood pouches of males and trunk of females. The fecundity of 1-year old male and 2-year old female pairs was significantly higher than that from 1-year old couples (P<0.001). The brood size (552.7±150.4) of the males who mated with females that were isolated for the gamete-preparation, was larger than those (467.8±141.2) from the long-term pairs (P<0.05). Moreover, the offspring from the isolated females had higher survival and growth rates. Our results showed that the potential reproductive rate of seahorses H. erectus increased with the brood pouch development.
Because the actin network in active lamellipodia is continuously assembling at the edge, moving inward and disassembling, there is a question as to how actin-binding proteins and other components are transported to the leading edge and how nascent adhesions are stabilized. Active transport could play a significant role in these functions but the components involved are unknown. We show here that Myosin 1E (a long tailed Myosin 1 isoform) rapidly moves to the tips of active lamellipodia and to actin-rich early adhesions, unlike Myosin 1G, 1B or 1C (short tailed isoforms). Myosin 1E co-localizes with CARMIL, FHOD1, Arp3 and β3-integrin in those early adhesions. But these structures precede stable paxillin-rich adhesions. Myosin 1E movement depends upon actin-binding domains and the presence of an SH3 oligomerization domain. Overexpression of a Myosin 1E deletion mutant without the extreme C-terminal interacting (SH3) domain (Myosin 1EΔSH3) increases edge fluctuations and decreases stable adhesion lifetimes. In contrast, overexpression of Myosin 1E full tail domain (TH1+TH2+TH3/SH3) decreases edge fluctuation. In Myosin 1E knockdown cells, and more prominently in cells treated with Myosin 1 inhibitor, cell-matrix adhesions are also short-lived and fail to mature. We suggest that, by moving to actin polymerization sites and early adhesion sites in active lamellipodia, Myosin 1E might play important roles in transporting not only important polymerizing proteins but also proteins involved in adhesion stabilization.
Non-ionizing radiation at 2.45 GHz may modify the expression of genes that codify heat shock proteins (HSP) in the thyroid gland. Using the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) technique, we studied levels of HSP-90 and HSP-70. We also used hematoxilin eosin to look for evidence of lesions in the gland and applied the DAPI technique of fluorescence to search for evidence of chromatin condensation and nuclear fragmentation in the thyroid cells of adult female Sprague-Dawley rats. Fifty-four rats were individually exposed for 30 min to 2.45 GHz radiation in a Gigahertz transverse electromagnetic (GTEM) cell at different levels of non-thermal specific absorption rate (SAR), which was calculated using the finite difference time domain (FDTD) technique. Ninety minutes after radiation, HSP-90 and HSP-70 had decreased significantly (P<0.01) after applying a SAR of 0.046±1.10 W/Kg or 0.104±5.10(-3) W/Kg. Twenty-four hours after radiation, HSP-90 had partially recovered and HSP-70 had recovered completely. There were few indications of lesions in the glandular structure and signs of apoptosis were negative in all radiated animals. The results suggest that acute sub-thermal radiation at 2.45 GHz may alter levels of cellular stress in rat thyroid gland without initially altering their anti-apoptotic capacity.
Although approximately 50% of Down Syndrome (DS) patients have heart abnormalities, they exhibit an overprotection against cardiac abnormalities related with the connective tissue, for example a lower risk of coronary artery disease. A recent study reported a case of a person affected by DS who carried mutations in FBN1, the gene causative for a connective tissue disorder called Marfan Syndrome (MFS). The fact that the person did not have any cardiac alterations suggested compensation effects due to DS. This observation is supported by a previous DS meta-analysis at the molecular level where we have found an overall upregulation of FBN1 (which is usually downregulated in MFS). Additionally, that result was cross-validated with independent expression data from DS heart tissue. The aim of this work is to elucidate the role of FBN1 in DS and to establish a molecular link to MFS and MFS-related syndromes using a computational approach. To reach that, we conducted different analytical approaches over two DS studies (our previous meta-analysis and independent expression data from DS heart tissue) and revealed expression alterations in the FBN1 interaction network, in FBN1 co-expressed genes and FBN1-related pathways. After merging the significant results from different datasets with a Bayesian approach, we prioritized 85 genes that were able to distinguish control from DS cases. We further found evidence for several of these genes (47%), such as FBN1, DCN, and COL1A2, being dysregulated in MFS and MFS-related diseases. Consequently, we further encourage the scientific community to take into account FBN1 and its related network for the study of DS cardiovascular characteristics.
Exploitation of embryonic stem cells (ESC) for therapeutic use and biomedical applications is severely hampered by the risk of teratocarcinoma formation. Here, we performed a screen of selected epi-modulating compounds and demonstrate that a transient exposure of mouse ESC to MS-275 (Entinostat), a class I histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDAC), modulates differentiation and prevents teratocarcinoma formation. Morphological and molecular data indicate that MS-275-primed ESCs are committed towards neural differentiation, which is supported by transcriptome analyses. Interestingly, in vitro withdrawal of MS-275 reverses the primed cells to the pluripotent state. In vivo, MS275-primed ES cells injected into recipient mice give only rise to benign teratomas but not teratocarcinomas with prevalence of neural-derived structures. In agreement, MS-275-primed ESC are unable to colonize blastocysts. These findings provide evidence that a transient alteration of acetylation alters the ESC fate.
The abundance of Myc protein must be exquisitely controlled to avoid growth abnormalities caused by too much or too little Myc. An intriguing mode of regulation exists in which Myc protein itself leads to reduction in its abundance. We show here that dMyc binds to the miR-308 locus and increases its expression. Using our gain-of-function approach, we show that an increase in miR-308 causes a destabilization of dMyc mRNA and reduced dMyc protein levels. In vivo knockdown of miR-308 confirmed the regulation of dMyc levels in embryos. This regulatory loop is crucial for maintaining appropriate dMyc levels and normal development. Perturbation of the loop, either by elevated miR-308 or elevated dMyc, caused lethality. Combining elevated levels of both, therefore restoring balance between miR-308 and dMyc levels, resulted in lower apoptotic activity and suppression of lethality. These results reveal a sensitive feedback mechanism that is crucial to prevent the pathologies caused by abnormal levels of dMyc.
Centrioles are essential for the formation of cilia and flagella. They also form the core of the centrosome, which organizes microtubule arrays important for cell shape, polarity, motility and division. Here, we have used super-resolution 3D-structured illumination microscopy to analyse the spatial relationship of 18 centriole and pericentriolar matrix (PCM) components of human centrosomes at different cell cycle stages. During mitosis, PCM proteins formed extended networks with interspersed γ-Tubulin. During interphase, most proteins were arranged at specific distances from the walls of centrioles, resulting in ring staining, often with discernible density masses. Through use of site-specific antibodies, we found the C-terminus of Cep152 to be closer to centrioles than the N-terminus, illustrating the power of 3D-SIM to study protein disposition. Appendage proteins showed rings with multiple density masses, and the number of these masses was strongly reduced during mitosis. At the proximal end of centrioles, Sas-6 formed a dot at the site of daughter centriole assembly, consistent with its role in cartwheel formation. Plk4 and STIL co-localized with Sas-6, but Cep135 was associated mostly with mother centrioles. Remarkably, Plk4 formed a dot on the surface of the mother centriole before Sas-6 staining became detectable, indicating that Plk4 constitutes an early marker for the site of nascent centriole formation. Our study provides novel insights into the architecture of human centrosomes and illustrates the power of super-resolution microscopy in revealing the relative localization of centriole and PCM proteins in unprecedented detail.
Caenorhabditis elegans seam cells divide in the stem-like mode throughout larval development, with the ability to both self-renew and produce daughters that differentiate. Seam cells typically divide asymmetrically, giving rise to an anterior daughter that fuses with the hypodermis and a posterior daughter that proliferates further. Previously we have identified rnt-1 (a homologue of the mammalian cancer-associated stem cell regulator Runx) as being an important regulator of seam development, acting to promote proliferation; rnt-1 mutants have fewer seam cells whereas overexpressing rnt-1 causes seam cell hyperplasia. We isolated the interacting CEH-20/Pbx and UNC-62/Meis TALE-class transcription factors during a genome-wide RNAi screen for novel regulators of seam cell number. Animals lacking wild type CEH-20 or UNC-62 display seam cell hyperplasia, largely restricted to the anterior of the worm, whereas double mutants have many additional seam cells along the length of the animal. The cellular basis of the hyperplasia involves the symmetrisation of normally asymmetric seam cell divisions towards the proliferative stem-like fate. The hyperplasia is completely suppressed in rnt-1 mutants, and rnt-1 is upregulated in ceh-20 and unc-62 mutants, suggesting that CEH-20 and UNC-62 function upstream of rnt-1 to limit proliferative potential to the appropriate daughter cell. In further support of this we find that CEH-20 is asymmetrically localised in seam daughters following an asymmetric division, being predominantly restricted to anterior nuclei whose fate is to differentiate. Thus, ceh-20 and unc-62 encode crucial regulators of seam cell division asymmetry, acting via rnt-1 to regulate the balance between proliferation and differentiation.
The BH3 mimetic ABT-737 is a potent inhibitor of the anti-apoptotic proteins Bcl-2, Bcl-X(L), and Bcl-w. The Bcl-2 family modulates sensitivity to anticancer drugs in many cancers, including melanomas. In this study, we examined whether ABT-737 is effective in killing melanoma cells either alone or in combination with a proteasome inhibitor already in clinical use (Bortezomib) in vitro and in vivo, and further evaluated the mechanisms of action. Results showed that ABT-737 alone induced modest cytotoxicity in melanoma cells, but only at higher doses. Knock-down of the anti-apoptotic proteins Bcl-2, Bcl-X(L), or Mcl-1 with siRNAs demonstrated that Mcl-1 is the critical mediator of melanoma's resistance to ABT-737 treatment. However, ABT-737 displayed strong synergistic lethality when combined with Bortezomib. Immunoblot analyses demonstrated that Bortezomib increased expression of Noxa, a pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 member that antagonizes Mcl-1. Additionally, siRNA-mediated inhibition of Noxa expression protected melanoma cells from cytotoxicity induced by the combination treatment. These results demonstrate that Bortezomib synergizes with ABT-737 by neutralizing Mcl-1's function via increased levels of Noxa. In a xenograft mouse model, although drug doses were limited due to toxicity, ABT-737 or Bortezomib slowed melanoma tumor growth compared to the control, and the drug combination significantly decreased growth compared to either drug alone. These data imply that less toxic drugs fulfilling a function similar to Bortezomib to neutralize Mcl-1 are promising candidates for combination with ABT-737 for treating melanomas.
We have analyzed health and physiological aging parameters in male and female Atlantic cod, Gadus morhua, captured in Kattegat, Skagerrak and in Öresund. Gender differences were clearly evident in a number of variables. Males had longer liver telomeres and higher catalase activities than females, while females had higher superoxide dismutase activity, liver somatic index and condition factor. Effects of age were found for males where levels of the antioxidant glutathione and telomere length declined with age, indicating physiological aging. Liver somatic index increased and percentage oxidized glutathione decreased with age. Between-site comparisons of males show that percentage oxidized glutathione and catalase were lowest in Kattegat, whereas protein carbonyls and condition factor were higher in Skagerrak. Females, on the other hand, showed no differences between sites or indications of somatic aging or age-related effects in egg quality, indicating that older and larger female cod are healthy and show no changes in eggs with age. In contrast, males showed indications of physiological aging and lower condition than females. The results emphasize the importance of conserving old mature fish, in particular high egg-productive females, when managing fisheries.
The transcription factor Ets1 is expressed at low levels in epidermal keratinocytes under physiological conditions, but is over-expressed in cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). We previously showed that over-expression of Ets1 in differentiated keratinocytes of the skin leads to significant pro-tumorigenic alterations. Here, we further extend these studies by testing the effects of over-expressing Ets1 in the proliferative basal keratinocytes of the skin, which includes the putative epidermal stem cells. We show that induction of the Ets1 transgene in the basal layer of skin during embryogenesis results in epidermal hyperplasia and impaired differentiation accompanied by attenuated expression of spinous and granular layer markers. A similar hyper-proliferative skin phenotype was observed when the transgene was induced in the basal layer of the skin of adult mice leading to hair loss and open sores. The Ets1-mediated phenotype is accompanied by a variety of changes in gene expression including alterations in Notch signaling, a crucial mediator of normal skin differentiation. Finally, we show that Ets1 disrupts Notch signaling in part via its ability to upregulate ΔNp63, an established transcriptional repressor of several of the Notch receptors. Given the established tumor suppressive role for Notch signaling in skin tumorigenesis, the demonstrated ability of Ets1 to interfere with this signaling pathway may be important in mediating its pro-tumorigenic activities.
How morphogen gradients are shaped is a major question in developmental biology, but remains poorly understood. Hedgehog (Hh) is a locally secreted ligand that reaches cells at a distance and acts as a morphogen to pattern the Drosophila wing and the vertebrate neural tube. The proper patterning of both structures relies on the precise control over the slope of Hh activity gradient. A number of hypotheses have been proposed to explain Hh movement and hence graded activity of Hh. A crux to all these models is that the covalent binding of cholesterol to Hh N-terminus is essential to achieve the correct slope of the activity gradient. Still, the behavior of cholesterol-free Hh (Hh-N) remains controversial: cholesterol has been shown to either increase or restrict Hh range depending on the experimental setting. Here, in fly embryos and wing imaginal discs, we show that cholesterol-free Hh diffuses at a long-range. This unrestricted diffusion of cholesterol-free Hh leads to an absence of gradient while Hh signaling strength remains uncompromised. These data support a model where cholesterol addition restricts Hh diffusion and can transform a leveled signaling activity into a gradient. In addition, our data indicate that the receptor Patched is not able to sequester cholesterol-free Hh. We propose that a morphogen gradient does not necessarily stem from the active transfer of a poorly diffusing molecule, but can be achieved by the restriction of a highly diffusible ligand.
Here, we report on the results of an experimental study that assessed the visitation frequency of wild bees to conspecific flowers with different sized floral guides. UV absorbent floral guides are ubiquitous in Angiosperms, yet surprisingly little is known about conspecific variation in these guides and very few studies have evaluated pollinator response to UV guide manipulation. This is true despite our rich understanding about learning and color preferences in bees. Historical dogma indicates that flower color serves as an important long-range visual signal allowing pollinators to detect the flowers, while floral guides function as close-range signals that direct pollinators to a reward. We initiated the work presented here by first assessing the population level variation in UV absorbent floral guides for conspecific flowers. We assessed two species, Rudbeckia hirta and R. fulgida. We then used several petal cut-and-paste experiments to test whether UV floral guides can also function to attract visitors. We manipulated floral guide size and evaluated visitation frequency. In all experiments, pollinator visitation rates were clearly associated with floral guide size. Diminished floral guides recruited relatively few insect visitors. Exaggerated floral guides recruited more visitors than smaller or average sized guides. Thus, UV floral guides play an important role in pollinator recruitment and in determining the relative attractiveness of conspecific flower heads. Consideration of floral guides is therefore important when evaluating the overall conspicuousness of flower heads relative to background coloration. This work raises the issue of whether floral guides serve as honest indicators of reward, since guide size varies in nature for conspecific flowers at the same developmental stage and since preferences for larger guides were found. To our knowledge, these are the first cut-and-paste experiments conducted to examine whether UV absorbent floral guides affect visitation rates and pollinator preference.
Embryonic Stem (ES) cells are able to give rise to the three germ layers of the embryo but are prevented from contributing to the trophoblast. The molecular nature of this barrier between embryonic and trophectodermal cell fates is not clear, but is known to involve DNA methylation. Here we demonstrate that the Nucleosome Remodeling and Deacetylation (NuRD) co-repressor complex maintains the developmental barrier between embryonic and trophectodermal cell fates by maintaining transcriptional silencing of trophectoderm determinant genes in ES cells. We further show that NuRD activity facilitates DNA methylation of several of its target promoters, where it acts non-redundantly with DNA methylation to enforce transcriptional silencing. NuRD-deficient ES cells fail to completely silence expression of the trophectoderm determinant genes Elf5 and Eomes, but this alone is not sufficient to induce transdifferentiation towards the trophectoderm fate. Rather this leaves ES cells capable of activating expression of trophectoderm-specific genes in response to appropriate extracellular signals, enabling them to commit to a trophectodermal cell fate. Our findings clarify the molecular nature of the developmental barrier between the embryonic and trophoblast cell fates, and establish a role for NuRD activity in specifying sites for de novo DNA methylation.
Rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax) display an impressive ability to acclimate to very cold water temperatures. These fish express both anti-freeze proteins and glycerol in their plasma, liver, muscle and other tissues to avoid freezing at sub-zero temperatures. Maintenance of glycerol levels requires active feeding in very cold water. To understand how these fish can maintain activity at cold temperatures, we explored thermal acclimation by the myotomal muscle of smelt exposed to cold water. We hypothesized that cold-acclimated fish would show enhanced swimming ability due to shifts in muscle contractile properties. We also predicted that shifts in swimming performance would be associated with changes in the expression patterns of muscle proteins such as parvalbumin (PV) and myosin heavy chain (MyHC). Swimming studies show significantly faster swimming by smelt acclimated to 5°C compared to fish acclimated to 20°C when tested at a common test temperature of 10°C. The cold-acclimated fish also had faster muscle contractile properties, such as a maximum shortening velocity (Vmax) almost double that of warm-acclimated fish at the same test temperature. Cold-acclimation is associated with a modest increase in PV levels in the swimming muscle. Fluorescence microscopy using anti-MyHC antibodies suggests that MyHC expression in the myotomal muscle may shift in response to exposure to cold water. The complex set of physiological responses that comprise cold-acclimation in smelt includes modifications in muscle function to permit active locomotion in cold water.
Goldfish have been used for cold acclimation studies, which have focused on changes in glycolytic and oxidative enzymes or alterations in lipid composition in skeletal muscle. Here we examine the effects of cold acclimation on the functional properties of isolated mitochondria and permeabilized fibers from goldfish white skeletal muscle, focusing on understanding the types of changes that occur in the mitochondrial respiratory states. We observed that cold acclimation promoted a significant increase in the mitochondrial oxygen consumption rates. Western blot analysis showed that UCP3 was raised by ∼1.5-fold in cold-acclimated muscle mitochondria. Similarly, we also evidenced a rise in the adenine nucleotide translocase content in cold-acclimated muscle mitochondria compared to warm-acclimated mitochondria (0.96±0.05 vs 0.68±0.02 nmol carboxyatractyloside mg(-1) protein). This was followed by a 2-fold increment in the citrate synthase activity, which suggests a higher mitochondrial content in cold-acclimated goldfish. Even with higher levels of UCP3 and ANT, the effects of activator (palmitate) and inhibitors (carboxyatractyloside and GDP) on mitochondrial parameters were similar in both warm- and cold-acclimated goldfish. Thus, we propose that cold acclimation in goldfish promotes an increase in functional oxidative capacity, with higher mitochondrial content without changes in the mitochondrial uncoupling pathways.
During spermiogenesis, haploid spermatids undergo extensive chromatin remodeling events in which histones are successively replaced by more basic protamines to generate highly compacted chromatin. Here we show for the first time that H3K79 methylation is a conserved feature preceding the histone-to-protamine transition in Drosophila melanogaster and rat. During Drosophila spermatogenesis, the Dot1-like methyltransferase Grappa (Gpp) is primarily expressed in canoe stage nuclei. The corresponding H3K79 methylation is a histone modification that precedes the histone-to-protamine transition and correlates with histone H4 hyperacetylation. When acetylation was inhibited in cultured Drosophila testes, nuclei were smaller and chromatin was compact, Gpp was little synthesized, H3K79 methylation was strongly reduced, and protamines were not synthesized. The Gpp isoform Gpp-D has a unique C-terminus, and Gpp is essential for full fertility. In rat, H3K79 methylation also correlates with H4 hyperacetylation but not with active RNA polymerase II, which might point towards a conserved function in chromatin remodeling during the histone-to-protamine transition in both Drosophila and rat.
Cells recognize and respond to changes in intra- and extracellular mechanical conditions to maintain their mechanical homeostasis. Linear contractile bundles of actin filaments and myosin II known as stress fibres (SFs) mediate mechanical signals. Mechanical cues such as excessive stress driven by myosin II and/or external force may damage SFs and induce the local transient accumulation of SF-repair complexes (zyxin and VASP) at the damaged sites. Using an atomic force microscope mounted on a fluorescence microscope, we applied mechanical damage to cells expressing fluorescently tagged cytoskeletal proteins and recorded the subsequent mobilization of SF-repair complexes. We found that a LIM protein, paxillin, transiently accumulated at the damaged sites earlier than zyxin, while paxillin knockdown did not affect the kinetics of zyxin translocation. The C-terminal half of paxillin, comprising four-tandem LIM domains, can still translocate to damaged sites on SFs, suggesting that the LIM domain is essential for the mechanosensory function of paxillin. Our findings demonstrate a crucial role of the LIM domain in mechanosensing LIM proteins.
In animal cells the centrosome is commonly viewed as the main cellular structure driving microtubule (MT) assembly into the mitotic spindle apparatus. However, additional pathways, such as those mediated by chromatin and augmin, are involved in the establishment of functional spindles. The molecular mechanisms involved in these pathways remain poorly understood, mostly due to limitations inherent to current experimental systems available. To overcome these limitations we have developed six new Drosophila cell lines derived from Drosophila homozygous mutants for DSas-4, a protein essential for centriole biogenesis. These cells lack detectable centrosomal structures, astral MT, with dispersed pericentriolar proteins D-PLP, Centrosomin and γ-tubulin. They show poorly focused spindle poles that reach the plasma membrane. Despite being compromised for functional centrosome, these cells could successfully undergo mitosis.
Live-cell imaging analysis of acentriolar spindle assembly revealed that nascent MTs are nucleated from multiple points in the vicinity of chromosomes. These nascent MTs then grow away from kinetochores allowing the expansion of fibers that will be part of the future acentriolar spindle. MT repolymerization assays illustrate that acentriolar spindle assembly occurs “inside-out” from the chromosomes. Colchicine-mediated depolymerization of MTs further revealed the presence of a functional Spindle Assembly Checkpoint (SAC) in the acentriolar cells. Finally, pilot RNAi experiments open the potential use of these cell lines for the molecular dissection of anastral pathways in spindle and centrosome assembly.
Dgp71WD/Nedd1 proteins are essential for mitotic spindle formation. In human cells, Nedd1 targets γ-tubulin to both centrosomes and spindles, but in other organisms the function of Dgp71WD/Nedd1 is less clear. In Drosophila cells, Dgp71WD plays a major part in targeting γ-tubulin to spindles, but not centrosomes, while in Xenopus egg extracts, Nedd1 acts as a more general microtubule (MT) organiser that can function independently of γ-tubulin. The interpretation of these studies, however, is complicated by the fact that some residual Dgp71WD/Nedd1 is likely present in the cells/extracts analysed. Here we generate a Dgp71WD null mutant lacking all but the last 12 nucleotides of coding sequence. The complete loss of Dgp71WD has no quantifiable effect on γ-tubulin or Centrosomin recruitment to the centrosome in larval brain cells. The recruitment of γ-tubulin to spindle MTs, however, is severely impaired, and spindle MT density is reduced in a manner that is indistinguishable from cells lacking Augmin or γ-TuRC function. In contrast, the absence of Dgp71WD leads to defects in the assembly of the acentrosomal female Meiosis I spindle that are more severe than those seen in Augmin or γ-TuRC mutants, indicating that Dgp71WD has additional functions that are independent of these complexes in oocytes. Moreover, the localisation of bicoid RNA during oogenesis, which requires γ-TuRC function, is unperturbed in Dgp71WD(120) mutants. Thus, Dgp71WD is not simply a general cofactor required for γ-TuRC and/or Augmin targeting, and it appears to have a crucial role independent of these complexes in the acentrosomal Meiosis I spindle.
Ocean acidification is an ongoing threat for marine organisms due to the increasing atmospheric CO(2) concentration. Seawater acidification has a serious impact on physiologic processes in marine organisms at all life stages. On the other hand, potential tolerance to external pH changes has been reported in coral larvae. Information about the possible mechanisms underlying such tolerance responses, however, is scarce. In the present study, we examined the effects of acidified seawater on the larvae of Acropora digitifera at the molecular level. We targeted two heat shock proteins, Hsp70 and Hsp90, and a heat shock transcription factor, Hsf1, because of their importance in stress responses and in early life developmental stages. Coral larvae were maintained under the ambient and elevated CO(2) conditions that are expected to occur within next 100 years, and then we evaluated the expression of hsps and hsf1 by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Expression levels of these molecules significantly differed among target genes, but they did not change significantly between CO(2) conditions. These findings indicate that the expression of hsps is not changed due to external pH changes, and suggest that tolerance to acidified seawater in coral larvae may not be related to hsp expression.
Protein phosphorylation and dephosphorylation is a key mechanism for the spatial and temporal regulation of many essential developmental processes and is especially prominent during mitosis. The multi-subunit protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) enzyme plays an important, yet poorly characterized role in dephosphorylating proteins during mitosis. PP2As are heterotrimeric complexes comprising a catalytic, structural, and regulatory subunit. Regulatory subunits are mutually exclusive and determine subcellular localization and substrate specificity of PP2A. At least 3 different classes of regulatory subunits exist (termed B, B', B″) but there is no obvious similarity in primary sequence between these classes. Therefore, it is not known how these diverse regulatory subunits interact with the same holoenzyme to facilitate specific PP2A functions in vivo. The B″ family of regulatory subunits is the least understood because these proteins lack conserved structural domains. RSA-1 (regulator of spindle assembly) is a regulatory B″ subunit required for mitotic spindle assembly in Caenorhabditis elegans. In order to address how B″ subunits interact with the PP2A core enzyme, we focused on a conditional allele, rsa-1(or598ts), and determined that this mutation specifically disrupts the protein interaction between RSA-1 and the PP2A structural subunit, PAA-1. Through genetic screening, we identified a putative interface on the PAA-1 structural subunit that interacts with a defined region of RSA-1/B″. In the context of previously published results, these data propose a mechanism of how different PP2A B-regulatory subunit families can bind the same holoenzyme in a mutually exclusive manner, to perform specific tasks in vivo.
Many scleractinian coral species host epizoic acoelomorph flatworms, both in aquaculture and in situ. These symbiotic flatworms may impair coral growth and health through light-shading, mucus removal and disruption of heterotrophic feeding. To quantify the effect of epizoic flatworms on zooplankton feeding, we conducted video analyses of single polyps of Galaxea fascicularis (Linnaeus 1767) grazing on Artemia nauplii in the presence and absence of symbiotic flatworms. 18S DNA analysis revealed that flatworms inhabiting G. fascicularis belonged to the genus Waminoa (Convolutidae), which were hosted at a density of 3.6±0.4 individuals polyp(-1). Polyps hosting flatworms exhibited prey capture rates of 2.2±2.5, 3.4±4.5 and 2.7±3.4 nauplii polyp(-1) 30 min(-1) at prey concentrations of 250, 500 and 1,000 nauplii L(-1), respectively. Polyps that had their flatworms removed displayed prey capture rates of 2.7±1.6, 4.8±4.1 and 16.9±10.3 nauplii polyp(-1) 30 min(-1). Significant main and interactive effects of flatworm presence and ambient prey concentration were found, reflected by the fact that flatworms significantly impaired host feeding rates at the highest prey density of 1,000 nauplii L(-1). In addition, flatworms displayed kleptoparasitism, removing between 0.1±0.3 and 0.6±1.1 nauplii 30 min(-1) from the oral disc of their host, or 5.3±3.3 to 50.0±2.1% of prey acquired by the coral. We suggest classifying the coral-associated Waminoa sp. as an epizoic parasite, as its presence may negatively affect growth and health of the host.
Vertebrate immune systems are understood to be complex and dynamic, with trade-offs among different physiological components (e.g., innate and adaptive immunity) within individuals and among taxonomic lineages. Desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) immunised with ovalbumin (OVA) showed a clear trade-off between levels of natural antibodies (NAbs; innate immune function) and the production of acquired antibodies (adaptive immune function). Once initiated, acquired antibody responses included a long-term elevation in antibodies persisting for more than one year. The occurrence of either (a) high levels of NAbs or (b) long-term elevations of acquired antibodies in individual tortoises suggests that long-term humoral resistance to pathogens may be especially important in this species, as well as in other vertebrates with slow metabolic rates, concomitantly slow primary adaptive immune responses, and long life-spans.
The sterile insect technique (SIT) is increasingly used to control pest insect populations. The success of SIT control programs depends on the ability to release sterile males and on the capacity of sterile males to compete with wild males to inseminate wild females. In this study, we evaluated the mating performance of Schistocerca gregaria (Försk.) males irradiated with 4 Gray. We compared reproductive traits, such as duration of precopulation time, mating duration, quantity of sperm stored by females after copulation, number of females mated successively and postmating competition of irradiated males with non-irradiated males. Irradiated males were able to mate but the resulting number of offspring was dramatically reduced compared to the average number of offspring observed during a regular mating. During a single copulation, irradiated males transferred fewer sperm than regular males but, theoretically, this quantity is enough to fertilize all the eggs produced by a female during its reproductive life. Irradiated males also had the ability to remove sperm from a previous mating with unirraditated males. This new information on the mating strategies helps explain the post-copulation guarding behaviour of S. gregaria.
The field of ecoimmunology is currently undergoing rapid expansion, whereby biologists from a wide range of ecological disciplines are increasingly interested in assessing immunocompetence in their study organisms. One of the key challenges to researchers is determining what eco-immune measures to use in a given experiment. Moreover, there are limitations depending on study species, requirements for specific antibodies, and relevance of the methodology to the study organism. Here we introduce an improved ex vivo method for microbiocidal activity across vertebrate species. The utility of this assay is that it determines the ability of an organism to remove a pathogen that could be encountered in the wild, lending ecological relevancy to the technique. The applications of this microbiocidal assay are broad, as it is readily adaptable to different types of microbes as well as a wide variety of study species. We describe a method of microbiocidal analysis that will enable researchers across disciplines to effectively employ this method to accurately quantify microbial killing ability, using readily available microplate absorbance readers.
The morphology and kinematics of a flying animal determines the resulting aerodynamic lift through the regulation of the speed of the air moving across the wing, the wing area and the lift coefficient. We studied the detailed three-dimensional wingbeat kinematics of the bat, Leptonycteris yerbabuenae, flying in a wind tunnel over a range of flight speeds (0-7 m/s), to determine how factors affecting the lift production vary across flight speed and within wingbeats. We found that the wing area, the angle of attack and the camber, which are determinants of the lift production, decreased with increasing speed. The camber is controlled by multiple mechanisms along the span, including the deflection of the leg relative to the body, the bending of the fifth digit, the deflection of the leading edge flap and the upward bending of the wing tip. All these measures vary throughout the wing beat suggesting active or aeroelastic control. The downstroke Strouhal number, St(d), is kept relatively constant, suggesting that favorable flow characteristics are maintained during the downstroke, across the range of speeds studied. The St(d) is kept constant through changes in the stroke plane, from a strongly inclined stroke plane at low speeds to a more vertical stroke plane at high speeds. The mean angular velocity of the wing correlates with the aerodynamic performance and shows a minimum at the speed of maximum lift to drag ratio, suggesting a simple way to determine the optimal speed from kinematics alone. Taken together our results show the high degree of adjustments that the bats employ to fine tune the aerodynamics of the wings and the correlation between kinematics and aerodynamic performance.
Mutations in the human XPG gene cause Cockayne syndrome (CS) and xeroderma pigmentosum (XP). Transcription defects have been suggested as the fundamental cause of CS; however, defining CS as a transcription syndrome is inconclusive. In particular, the function of XPG in transcription has not been clearly demonstrated. Here, we provide evidence for the involvement of RAD2, the Saccharomyces cerevisiae counterpart of XPG, in cell cycle regulation and efficient actin assembly following ultraviolet irradiation. RAD2 C-terminal deletion, which resembles the XPG mutation found in XPG/CS cells, caused cell growth arrest, the cell cycle stalling, a defective α-factor response, shortened lifespan, cell polarity defect, and misregulated actin-dynamics after DNA damage. Overexpression of the C-terminal 65 amino acids of Rad2p was sufficient to induce hyper-cell polarization. In addition, RAD2 genetically interacts with TPM1 during cell polarization. These results provide insights into the role of RAD2 in post-UV irradiation cell cycle regulation and actin assembly, which may be an underlying cause of XPG/CS.
Remodeling of the actin cytoskeleton is required for vasopressin (VP)-induced aquaporin 2 (AQP2) trafficking. Here, we asked whether VP and forskolin (FK)-mediated F-actin depolymerization depends on AQP2 expression. Using various MDCK and LLC-PK1 cell lines with different AQP2 expression levels, we performed F-actin quantification and immunofluorescence staining after VP/FK treatment. In MDCK cells, in which AQP2 is delivered apically, VP/FK mediated F-actin depolymerization was significantly correlated with AQP2 expression levels. A decrease of apical membrane associated F-actin was observed upon VP/FK treatment in AQP2 transfected, but not in untransfected cells. There was no change in basolateral actin staining under these conditions. In LLC-PK(1) cells, which deliver AQP2 basolaterally, a significant VP/FK mediated decrease in F-actin was also detected only in AQP2 transfected cells. This depolymerization response to VP/FK was significantly reduced by siRNA knockdown of AQP2. By immunofluorescence, an inverse relationship between plasma membrane AQP2 and membrane-associated F-actin was observed after VP/FK treatment again only in AQP2 transfected cells. This is the first report showing that VP/FK mediated F-actin depolymerization is dependent on AQP2 protein expression in renal epithelial cells, and that this is not dependent on the polarity of AQP2 membrane insertion.
Fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signalling plays an essential role in early vertebrate development. However, the response to FGF requires endocytosis of the activated FGF receptor (FGFR) that is in part dependent on remodelling of the actin cytoskeleton. Recently we showed that the extended synaptotagmin family plasma membrane protein, E-Syt2, is an essential endocytic adapter for FGFR1. Here we show E-Syt2 is also an interaction partner for the p21-GTPase Activated Kinase PAK1. The phospholipid binding C2C domain of E-Syt2 specifically binds a site adjacent to the CRIB/GBD of PAK1. PAK1 and E-Syt2 selectively complex with FGFR1 and functionally cooperate in the FGF signalling. E-Syt2 binding suppresses actin polymerization and inhibits the activation of PAK1 by the GTPases Cdc42 and Rac. Interestingly, the E-Syt2 binding site on PAK1 extensively overlaps a site recently suggested to bind phospholipids. Our data suggest that PAK1 interacts with phospholipid membrane domains via E-Syt2, where it may cooperate in the E-Syt2-dependent endocytosis of activated FGFR1 by modulating cortical actin stability.
Actin and myosin II play major roles in cell migration. Whereas pseudopod extension by actin polymerization has been intensively researched, less attention has been paid to how the rest of the actin cytoskeleton such as the actin cortex contributes to cell migration. In this study, cortical actin and myosin II filaments were simultaneously observed in migrating Dictyostelium cells under total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy. The cortical actin and myosin II filaments remained stationary with respect to the substratum as the cells advanced. However, fluorescence recovery after photobleaching experiments and direct observation of filaments showed that they rapidly turned over. When the cells were detached from the substratum, the actin and myosin filaments displayed a vigorous retrograde flow. Thus, when the cells migrate on the substratum, the cortical cytoskeleton firmly holds the substratum to generate the motive force instead. The present studies also demonstrate how myosin II localizes to the rear region of the migrating cells. The observed dynamic turnover of actin and myosin II filaments contributes to the recycling of their subunits across the whole cell and enables rapid reorganization of the cytoskeleton.
Morphogenesis in multicellular organisms requires the careful coordination of cytoskeletal elements, dynamic regulation of cell adhesion and extensive cell migration. sosie (sie) is a novel gene required in various morphogenesis processes in Drosophila oogenesis. Lack of sie interferes with normal egg chamber packaging, maintenance of epithelial integrity and control of follicle cell migration, indicating that sie is involved in controlling epithelial integrity and cell migration. For these functions sie is required both in the germ line and in the soma. Consistent with this, Sosie localizes to plasma membranes in the germ line and in the somatic follicle cells and is predicted to present an EGF-like domain on the extracellular side. Two positively charged residues, C-terminal to the predicted transmembrane domain (on the cytoplasmic side), are required for normal plasma membrane localization of Sosie. Because sie also contributes to normal cortical localization of β(H)-Spectrin, it appears that cortical β(H)-Spectrin mediates some of the functions of sosie. sie also interacts with the genes coding for the actin organizers Filamin and Profilin and, in the absence of sie function, F-actin is less well organized and nurse cells frequently fuse.
The NF2 gene encodes a tumor suppressor protein known as merlin or schwannomin whose loss of function causes Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2). NF2 is characterized by the development of benign tumors, predominantly schwannomas, in the peripheral nervous system. Merlin links plasma membrane receptors with the actin cytoskeleton and its targeting to the plasma membrane depends on direct binding to the paxillin scaffold protein. Exon 2 of NF2, an exon mutated in NF2 patients and deleted in a mouse model of NF2, encodes the merlin paxillin binding domain (PBD1). Here, we sought to determine the role of PBD1 in regulation of merlin stability and association with plasma membrane receptors and the actin cytoskeleton in Schwann cells. Using a fluorescence-based pulse-chase technique, we measured the half-life of Halo-tagged merlin variants carrying PBD1, exon 2, and exons 2 and 3 deletions in transiently transfected Schwann cells. We found that PBD1 alone was necessary and sufficient to increase merlin's half-life from approximately three to eleven hours. Merlin lacking PBD1 did not form a complex with surface β1 integrins or associate with the actin cytoskeleton. In addition, direct binding studies using purified merlin and paxillin domains revealed that merlin directly binds paxillin LD3 (leucine-aspartate 3) domain as well as the LD4 and LD5 domains. Together these results demonstrate that a direct interaction between merlin PBD1 and the paxillin LD3-5 domains targets merlin to the plasma membrane where it is stabilized by its association with surface β1 integrins and cortical actin.
Myeloperoxidase (MPO) is a heme-containing enzyme released from activated leukocytes into the extracellular space during inflammation. Its main function is the production of hypohalous acids that are potent oxidants. MPO can also modulate cell signaling and inflammatory responses independently of its enzymatic activity. Because MPO is regarded as an important risk factor for cardiovascular diseases associated with increased platelet activity, we studied the effects of MPO on human platelet functional properties. Laser scanning confocal microscopy was used to reveal carbohydrate-independent MPO binding to human platelet membrane. Adding MPO to platelets did not activate their aggregation under basal conditions (without agonist). In contrast, MPO augmented agonist-induced platelet aggregation, which was not prevented by MPO enzymatic activity inhibitors. It was found that exposure of platelets to MPO leads to actin cytoskeleton reorganization and an increase in their elasticity. Furthermore, MPO evoked a rise in cytosolic Ca(2+) through enhancement of store-operated Ca(2+) entry (SOCE). Together, these findings indicate that MPO is not a direct agonist but rather a mediator that binds to human platelets, induces actin cytoskeleton reorganization and affects the mechanical stiffness of human platelets, resulting in potentiating SOCE and agonist-induced human platelet aggregation. Therefore, an increased activity of platelets in vascular disease can, at least partly, be provided by MPO elevated concentrations.
Gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP), a neuropeptide initially isolated from porcine stomach, shares sequence similarity with bombesin. GRP and its receptors are present in the brains and peripheral tissues of several species of teleost fish, but little is known about the ventilatory and cardiovascular effects of this peptide in these vertebrates. The goal of this study was to compare the central and peripheral actions of picomolar doses of trout GRP on ventilatory and cardiovascular variables in the unanesthetized rainbow trout. Compared to vehicle, intracerebroventricular (ICV) injection of GRP (1-50 pmol) significantly elevated the ventilation rate (ƒV) and the ventilation amplitude (VAMP), and consequently the total ventilation (VTOT). The maximum hyperventilatory effect of GRP (VTOT: +225%), observed at a dose of 50 pmol, was mostly due to its stimulatory action on VAMP (+170%) rather than ƒV (+20%). In addition, ICV GRP (50 pmol) produced a significant increase in mean dorsal aortic blood pressure (P DA) (+35%) and in heart rate (ƒH) (+25%). Intra-arterial injections of GRP (5-100 pmol) were without sustained effect on the ventilatory variables but produced sporadic and transient increases in ventilatory movement at doses of 50 and 100 pmol. At these doses, GRP elevated P DA by +20% but only the 50 pmol dose significantly increased HR (+15%). In conclusion, our study suggests that endogenous GRP within the brain of the trout may act as a potent neurotransmitter and/or neuromodulator in the regulation of cardio-ventilatory functions. In the periphery, endogenous GRP may act as locally-acting and/or circulating neurohormone with an involvement in vasoregulatory mechanisms.
The maintenance of energetic homeostasis in the face of limited available nutrients is a complex problem faced by all organisms. One important mechanism to maintain energetic homeostasis involves the activation of the energy sensor AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). AMPK is a cell-autonomous energy sensor that is highly sensitive to and regulated by the ATP to ADP and ATP to AMP ratios. However, the genetic analysis of AMPK signaling in vertebrates has been complicated by the existence of multiple redundant AMPK subunits. Here, we describe the identification of mutations in the single Drosophila melanogaster AMPK catalytic subunit (AMPKα) and their implications for neural maintenance and integrity. This article provides a citation replacement for previously published ampkα alleles, transgenes and neuronal phenotypes, which remain accurate; however, they were used in a previously published study that has subsequently been retracted (Mirouse et al., 2013).
The myc protooncogene encodes the Myc transcription factor which is the essential part of the Myc-Max network controlling fundamental cellular processes. Deregulation of myc leads to tumorigenesis and is a hallmark of many human cancers. We have recently identified homologs of myc (myc1, myc2) and max in the early diploblastic cnidarian Hydra and have characterized myc1 in detail. Here we show that myc2 is transcriptionally activated in the interstitial stem cell system. Furthermore, in contrast to myc1, myc2 expression is also detectable in proliferating epithelial stem cells throughout the gastric region. myc2 but not myc1 is activated in cycling precursor cells during early oogenesis and spermatogenesis, suggesting that the Hydra Myc2 protein has a possible non-redundant function in cell cycle progression. The Myc2 protein displays the principal design and properties of vertebrate Myc proteins. In complex with Max, Myc2 binds to DNA with similar affinity as Myc1-Max heterodimers. Immunoprecipitation of Hydra chromatin revealed that both Myc1 and Myc2 bind to the enhancer region of CAD, a classical Myc target gene in mammals. Luciferase reporter gene assays showed that Myc1 but not Myc2 transcriptionally activates the CAD promoter. Myc2 has oncogenic potential when tested in primary avian fibroblasts but to a lower degree as compared to Myc1. The identification of an additional myc gene in Cnidaria, a phylum that diverged prior to bilaterians, with characteristic expression patterns in tissue homeostasis and developmental processes suggests that principle functions of myc genes have arisen very early in metazoan evolution.
Vertebrate muscle development occurs through sequential differentiation of cells residing in somitic mesoderm - a process that is largely governed by transcriptional regulators. Our recent spatiotemporal microarray study in zebrafish has identified functionally uncharacterized transcriptional regulators that are expressed at the initial stages of myogenesis. cited3 is one such novel gene encoding a transcriptional coactivator, which is expressed in the precursors of oxidative slow-twitch myofibers. Our experiments placed cited3 into a gene regulatory network, where it acts downstream of Hedgehog signaling and myoD/myf5 but upstream of mef2c. Knockdown of expression of cited3 by antisense morpholino oligonucleotides impaired muscle cell differentiation and growth, caused muscle cell death and eventually led to total immotility. Transplantation experiments demonstrated that Cited3 cell-autonomously activates the expression of mef2c in slow myofibers, while it non-cell-autonomously regulates expression of structural genes in fast myofibers. Restoring expression of cited3 or mef2c rescued all the cited3 loss-of-function phenotypes. Protein truncation experiments revealed the functional necessity of C-terminally conserved domain of Cited3, which is known to mediate interactions of Cited-family proteins with histone acetylases. Our findings demonstrate that Cited3 is a critical transcriptional coactivator functioning during muscle differentiation and its absence leads to defects in terminal differentiation and survival of muscle cells.
Optogenetics, the regulation of proteins by light, has revolutionized the study of excitable cells, and generated strong interest in the therapeutic potential of this technology for regulating action potentials in neural and muscle cells. However, it is currently unknown whether light-activated channels and pumps will allow control of resting potential in embryonic or regenerating cells in vivo. Abnormalities in ion currents of non-excitable cells are known to play key roles in the etiology of birth defects and cancer. Moreover, changes in transmembrane resting potential initiate Xenopus tadpole tail regeneration, including regrowth of a functioning spinal cord, in tails that have been inhibited by natural inactivity of the endogenous H(+)-V-ATPase pump. However, existing pharmacological and genetic methods allow neither non-invasive control of bioelectric parameters in vivo nor the ability to abrogate signaling at defined time points. Here, we show that light activation of a H(+)-pump can prevent developmental defects and induce regeneration by hyperpolarizing transmembrane potentials. Specifically, light-dependent, Archaerhodopsin-based, H(+)-flux hyperpolarized cells in vivo and thus rescued Xenopus embryos from the craniofacial and patterning abnormalities caused by molecular blockade of endogenous H(+)-flux. Furthermore, light stimulation of Arch for only 2 days after amputation restored regenerative capacity to inhibited tails, inducing cell proliferation, tissue innervation, and upregulation of notch1 and msx1, essential genes in two well-known endogenous regenerative pathways. Electroneutral pH change, induced by expression of the sodium proton exchanger, NHE3, did not rescue regeneration, implicating the hyperpolarizing activity of Archaerhodopsin as the causal factor. The data reveal that hyperpolarization is required only during the first 48 hours post-injury, and that expression in the spinal cord is not necessary for the effect to occur. Our study shows that complex, coordinated sets of stable bioelectric events that alter body patterning-prevention of birth defects and induction of regeneration-can be elicited by the temporal modulation of a single ion current. Furthermore, as optogenetic reagents can be used to achieve that manipulation, the potential for this technology to impact clinical approaches for preventive, therapeutic, and regenerative medicine is extraordinary. We expect this first critical step will lead to an unprecedented expansion of optogenetics in biomedical research and in the probing of novel and fundamental biophysical determinants of growth and form.
A significant fraction of mice deficient in either glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) or its co-receptors (Gfrα1, Ret), undergoes ureteric bud (UB) outgrowth leading to the formation of a rudimentary kidney. Previous studies using the isolated Wolffian duct (WD) culture indicate that activation of fibroblast growth factor (FGF) receptor signaling, together with suppression of BMP/Activin signaling, is critical for GDNF-independent WD budding (Maeshima et al., 2007). By expression analysis of embryonic kidney from Ret((-/-)) mice, we found the upregulation of several FGFs, including FGF7. To examine the intracellular pathways, we then analyzed GDNF-dependent and GDNF-independent budding in the isolated WD culture. In both conditions, Akt activation was found to be important; however, whereas this occurred through PI3-kinase in GDNF-dependent budding, in the case of GDNF-independent budding, Akt activation was apparently via a PI3-kinase independent mechanism. Jnk signaling and the AP-1 transcription factor complex were also implicated in GDNF-independent budding. FosB, a binding partner of c-Jun in the formation of AP-1, was the most highly upregulated gene in the ret knockout kidney (in which budding had still occurred), and we found that its siRNA-mediated knockdown in isolated WDs also blocked GDNF-independent budding. Taken together with the finding that inhibition of Jnk signaling does not block Akt activation/phosphorylation in GDNF-independent budding, the data support necessary roles for both FosB/Jun/AP-1 signaling and PI3-kinase-independent activation of Akt in GDNF-independent budding. A model is proposed for signaling events that involve Akt and JNK working to regulate GDNF-independent WD budding.