[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The selective sensitivity of cells to programmed cell death (PCD) depends on the positive and negative death-inducing signals that converge into the apoptotic pathway. In Drosophila, the midline glial (MG) cells undergo selective death during development. Here, we show that the long isoform of the RNA-binding protein Held Out Wing (HOW(L)) is essential for enhancing the sensitivity of the MG cells to PCD. In how mutant embryos, the number of MG cells was elevated. This phenotype could be rescued by midline expression of the HOW(L) repressor isoform. In how mutant embryos, the levels of the caspase inhibitor of apoptosis, Diap1 were elevated, in parallel to reduction in the levels of activated caspase. Similarly, reducing the levels of HOW in S2 cells led to elevation of Diap1, whereas over expression of HOW(L) promoted reduction of Diap1 protein as well as mRNA levels. Importantly, deletion of the two HOW binding sites from diap1 3'UTR abrogated HOW-dependent repression of Diap1, suggesting that HOW represses diap1 by binding to its 3'UTR. These results suggest that HOW(L) enhances the sensitivity of MG cells to apoptotic signals by reducing the levels of diap1 in these cells in, demonstrating a novel mode of regulation of PCD at the mRNA level.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2008 · Mechanisms of development
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During early embryogenesis, heart and skeletal muscle progenitor cells are thought to derive from distinct regions of the mesoderm (i.e. the lateral plate mesoderm and paraxial mesoderm, respectively). In the present study, we have employed both in vitro and in vivo experimental systems in the avian embryo to explore how mesoderm progenitors in the head differentiate into both heart and skeletal muscles. Using fate-mapping studies, gene expression analyses, and manipulation of signaling pathways in the chick embryo, we demonstrate that cells from the cranial paraxial mesoderm contribute to both myocardial and endocardial cell populations within the cardiac outflow tract. We further show that Bmp signaling affects the specification of mesoderm cells in the head: application of Bmp4, both in vitro and in vivo, induces cardiac differentiation in the cranial paraxial mesoderm and blocks the differentiation of skeletal muscle precursors in these cells. Our results demonstrate that cells within the cranial paraxial mesoderm play a vital role in cardiogenesis, as a new source of cardiac progenitors that populate the cardiac outflow tract in vivo. A deeper understanding of mesodermal lineage specification in the vertebrate head is expected to provide insights into the normal, as well as pathological, aspects of heart and craniofacial development.