Planar Cell Polarity Enables Posterior Localization of Nodal Cilia and Left-Right Axis Determination during Mouse and Xenopus Embryogenesis

Texas A&M University, United States of America
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.23). 02/2010; 5(2):e8999. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008999
Source: PubMed


Left-right asymmetry in vertebrates is initiated in an early embryonic structure called the ventral node in human and mouse, and the gastrocoel roof plate (GRP) in the frog. Within these structures, each epithelial cell bears a single motile cilium, and the concerted beating of these cilia produces a leftward fluid flow that is required to initiate left-right asymmetric gene expression. The leftward fluid flow is thought to result from the posterior tilt of the cilia, which protrude from near the posterior portion of each cell's apical surface. The cells, therefore, display a morphological planar polarization. Planar cell polarity (PCP) is manifested as the coordinated, polarized orientation of cells within epithelial sheets, or as directional cell migration and intercalation during convergent extension. A set of evolutionarily conserved proteins regulates PCP. Here, we provide evidence that vertebrate PCP proteins regulate planar polarity in the mouse ventral node and in the Xenopus gastrocoel roof plate. Asymmetric anterior localization of VANGL1 and PRICKLE2 (PK2) in mouse ventral node cells indicates that these cells are planar polarized by a conserved molecular mechanism. A weakly penetrant Vangl1 mutant phenotype suggests that compromised Vangl1 function may be associated with left-right laterality defects. Stronger functional evidence comes from the Xenopus GRP, where we show that perturbation of VANGL2 protein function disrupts the posterior localization of motile cilia that is required for leftward fluid flow, and causes aberrant expression of the left side-specific gene Nodal. The observation of anterior-posterior PCP in the mouse and in Xenopus embryonic organizers reflects a strong evolutionary conservation of this mechanism that is important for body plan determination.

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    • "Foxj1 expression in Kupffer’s vesicle of zebrafish embryos is also regulated by Wnt/β-catenin [20], indicating conserved Wnt-dependency of Foxj1 expression during LR axis development. The non-canonical Wnt/PCP pathway was shown to be necessary for cilia polarization to the posterior pole of GRP cells [21], as a prerequisite for the generation of a directed laminar flow from right to left [16], [22]. This role of Wnt/PCP for LR axis specification was also described in mouse [23], [24], arguing for evolutionary conservation of this Wnt-dependent step in LR development as well. "
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    ABSTRACT: Breakage of bilateral symmetry in amphibian embryos depends on the development of a ciliated epithelium at the gastrocoel roof during early neurulation. Motile cilia at the gastrocoel roof plate (GRP) give rise to leftward flow of extracellular fluids. Flow is required for asymmetric gene expression and organ morphogenesis. Wnt signaling has previously been involved in two steps, Wnt/ß-catenin mediated induction of Foxj1, a regulator of motile cilia, and Wnt/planar cell polarity (PCP) dependent cilia polarization to the posterior pole of cells. We have studied Wnt11b in the context of laterality determination, as this ligand was reported to activate canonical and non-canonical Wnt signaling. Wnt11b was found to be expressed in the so-called superficial mesoderm (SM), from which the GRP derives. Surprisingly, Foxj1 was only marginally affected in loss-of-function experiments, indicating that another ligand acts in this early step of laterality specification. Wnt11b was required, however, for polarization of GRP cilia and GRP morphogenesis, in line with the known function of Wnt/PCP in cilia-driven leftward flow. In addition Xnr1 and Coco expression in the lateral-most GRP cells, which sense flow and generate the first asymmetric signal, was attenuated in morphants, involving Wnt signaling in yet another process related to symmetry breakage in Xenopus.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    • "These polarized GRP cilia beat in a circular motion to produce leftward that is important for left–right asymmetry (Blum et al., 2009; Schweickert et al., 2007). PCP has also been linked to the posterior localization of these GRP cilia and for the establishment of L–R asymmetry (Antic et al., 2010). However, the mechanical process of cilia posteriorization is not completely understood. "
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    ABSTRACT: Nucleotide binding protein 1 (Nubp1) is a highly conserved phosphate loop (P-loop) ATPase involved in diverse processes including iron-sulfur protein assembly, centrosome duplication and lung development. Here, we report the cloning, expression and functional characterization of Xenopus laevis Nubp1. We show that xNubp1 is expressed maternally, displays elevated expression in neural tissues and is required for convergent extension movements and neural tube closure. In addition, xNubp1knockdown leads to defective ciliogenesis of the multi-ciliated cells of the epidermis as well as the monociliated cells of the gastrocoel roof plate. Specifically, xNubp1 is required for basal body migration, spacing and docking in multi-ciliated cells and basal body positioning and axoneme elongation in monociliated gastrocoel roof plate cells. Live imaging of the different pools of actin and basal body migration during the process of ciliated cell intercalation revealed that two independent pools of actin are present from the onset of cell intercalation; an internal network surrounding the basal bodies, anchoring them to the cell cortex and an apical pool of punctate actin which eventually matures into the characteristic apical actin network. We show that xNubp1 colocalizes with the apical actin network of multiciliated cells and that problems in basal body transport in xNubp1 morphants are associated with defects of the internal network of actin, while spacing and polarity issues are due to a failure of the apical and sub-apical actin pools to mature into a network. Effects of xNubp1 knockdown on the actin cytoskeleton are independent of RhoA localization and activation, suggesting that xNubp1 may have a direct role in the regulation of the actin cytoskeleton.
    Full-text · Article · May 2013 · Developmental Biology
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    • "In the hair cell, the precise positioning of an immotile cilium, the kinocilium, is dependent on PCP [27]. Therefore, it was not too surprising when the PCP pathway was shown to be also required for the posterior migration of the basal bodies in the nodal cells [28–31]. Interestingly, many of the components of the PCP pathway—such as the protein Dishevelled (Dvl), Prickle (Pk) and Van gogh-like (Vangl)—have polarized subcellular localization in the node. "
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    ABSTRACT: Cilia are microtubule-based hair-like organelles that project from the surface of most eukaryotic cells. They play critical roles in cellular motility, fluid transport and a variety of signal transduction pathways. While we have a good appreciation of the mechanisms of ciliary biogenesis and the details of their structure, many of their functions demand a more lucid understanding. One such function, which remains as intriguing as the time when it was first discovered, is how beating cilia in the node drive the establishment of left-right asymmetry in the vertebrate embryo. The bone of contention has been the two schools of thought that have been put forth to explain this phenomenon. While the 'morphogen hypothesis' believes that ciliary motility is responsible for the transport of a morphogen preferentially to the left side, the 'two-cilia model' posits that the motile cilia generate a leftward-directed fluid flow that is somehow sensed by the immotile sensory cilia on the periphery of the node. Recent studies with the mouse embryo argue in favour of the latter scenario. Yet this principle may not be generally conserved in other vertebrates that use nodal flow to specify their left-right axis. Work with the teleost fish medaka raises the tantalizing possibility that motility as well as sensory functions of the nodal cilia could be residing within the same organelle. In the end, how ciliary signalling is transmitted to institute asymmetric gene expression that ultimately induces asymmetric organogenesis remains unresolved.
    Full-text · Article · May 2013 · Open Biology
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