Importance of Intrinsic Mechanisms in Cell Fate Decisions in the Developing Rat Retina

Stanford University, Stanford, California, United States
Neuron (Impact Factor: 15.05). 01/2004; 40(5):897-904. DOI: 10.1016/S0896-6273(03)00756-6
Source: PubMed


Cell diversification in the developing nervous system is thought to involve both cell-intrinsic mechanisms and extracellular signals, but their relative importance in particular cell fate decisions remains uncertain. In the mammalian retina, different cell types develop on a predictable schedule from multipotent retinal neuroepithelial cells (RNECs). A current view is that RNECs pass through a series of competence states, progressively changing their responsiveness to instructive extracellular cues, which also change over time. We show here, however, that embryonic day 16-17 (E16-17) rat RNECs develop similarly in serum-free clonal-density cultures and in serum-containing retinal explants--in the number of times they divide, the cell types they generate, and the order in which they generate these cell types. These surprising results suggest that extracellular signals may be less important than currently believed in determining when RNECs stop dividing and what cell types they generate when they withdraw from the cell cycle, at least from E16-17 onward.

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Available from: Michel Cayouette
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    • "In the vertebrate CNS, it is known that retinal progenitor cells (RPCs) at the optic cup stage are multipotent and give rise to clones that are highly variable both in size and neuronal fate composition (Holt et al., 1988; Turner and Cepko, 1987; Wetts and Fraser, 1988). The finding that clones derived from isolated individual rat RPCs grown in vitro are just as variable as those in vivo, suggests that this variability is an intrinsic property of RPCs (Cayouette et al., 2003). One possibility is that these RPCs are individually programmed to go through unique and determined lineage trees. "
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    ABSTRACT: Early retinal progenitor cells (RPCs) in vertebrates produce lineages that vary greatly both in terms of cell number and fate composition, yet how this variability is achieved remains unknown. One possibility is that these RPCs are individually distinct and that each gives rise to a unique lineage. Another is that stochastic mechanisms play upon the determinative machinery of equipotent early RPCs to drive clonal variability. Here we show that a simple model, based on the independent firing of key fate-influencing transcription factors, can quantitatively account for the intrinsic clonal variance in the zebrafish retina and predict the distributions of neuronal cell types in clones where one or more of these fates are made unavailable.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Developmental Cell
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    • "miRNAs are small 22 nucleotide RNAs that function to repress gene function, either by binding to their target mRNA and inhibiting translation, or by directing the cleavage of the target mRNA [34,35]. Not only are several heterochronic genes in C. elegans miRNAs [36-38], but miRNAs have also been implicated in retinal histogenesis [39] in which intrinsic timing mechanisms play an important role in several species [40-42]. Finally, the zebrafish MZdicer mutant, that is unable to process precursor miRNAs, shows a range of morphogenetic defects including neural tube defects related to brain ventricle development [43]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Morphogenesis requires developmental processes to occur both at the right time and in the right place. During neural tube formation in the zebrafish embryo, the generation of the apical specializations of the lumen must occur in the center of the neural rod after the neural cells have undergone convergence, invagination and interdigitation across the midline. How this coordination is achieved is uncertain. One possibility is that environmental signaling at the midline of the neural rod controls the schedule of apical polarization. Alternatively, polarization could be regulated by a timing mechanism and then independent morphogenetic processes ensure the cells are in the correct spatial location. Results Ectopic transplantation demonstrates the local environment of the neural midline is not required for neural cell polarization. Neural cells can self-organize into epithelial cysts in ectopic locations in the embryo and also in three-dimensional gel cultures. Heterochronic transplants demonstrate that the schedule of polarization and the specialized cell divisions characteristic of the neural rod are more strongly regulated by time than local environmental signals. The cells’ schedule for polarization is set prior to gastrulation, is stable through several rounds of cell division and appears independent of the morphogenetic movements of gastrulation and neurulation. Conclusions Time rather than local environment regulates the schedule of epithelial polarization in zebrafish neural rod.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · Neural Development
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    • "Cell mixing experiments have shown that the differentiation potential of RPCs remains unchanged when they are placed in a temporally inappropriate environment (Watanabe and Raff, 1990; Altshuler and Cepko, 1992; Lillien and Cepko, 1992; Belliveau and Cepko, 1999). Moreover, when RPCs are plated at clonal density, they generate clones that are of similar size and composition as clones that develop in situ, and the general order of cell type production in the population is reproduced (Cayouette et al., 2003). Although feedback inhibition signals from the environment can clearly influence the proportion of specific cell types produced (Reh and Tully, 1986; Reh, 1992; Waid and McLoon, 1998; Wang et al., 2005), even in clonal cultures, these results are consistent with a model in which RPCs do not require specific instructive environmental signals for proper cell fate specification, but rather depend on cell intrinsic cues acting to bias their developmental potential over time (Cayouette et al., 2006; Gomes et al., 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: We showed previously that the transcription factor Ikaros is expressed in early but not late retinal progenitors cells (RPCs), and is necessary and sufficient for the production of early-born neurons. Preliminary evidence using retinal explant cultures qualitatively suggested that Ikaros-positive RPCs might share a common lineage with Ikaros-negative RPCs. Results: To explore further this question in vivo in a quantitative manner, we generated BAC transgenic mouse lines expressing Cre recombinase under the regulatory elements of the Ikaros gene, and crossed them with Cre reporter lines. Different transgenic lines labeled a variable number of RPCs, resulting in either dense or sparse radial arrays of reporter-positive progenies. Analysis of over 800 isolated cell arrays, which are most likely clones, confirmed that Ikaros-expressing RPCs generate both early- and late-born cell types in the same lineage, and that the overall cell composition of the arrays closely resembles that of the population of the mature retina. Interestingly, another sparse line did not label arrays, but appeared to specifically reflect Ikaros postmitotic expression in amacrine and ganglion cells. Conclusions: These mouse lines confirm the unbiased potential of the Ikaros lineage in vivo and provide novel tools for clonal lineage tracing and single neuron tracking in the retina.
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