[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
The mammalian esophageal musculature is unique in that it makes a transition from smooth to skeletal muscle, with most of this process occurring after birth. In order to better understand the mechanisms that control esophageal musculature development, we investigated the roles in this process of the paired box transcription factor, PAX7, a principal regulator of skeletal myogenic progenitor cells. Previous studies showed that Pax7 is important for determining the esophageal muscle composition.
We characterized the postnatal development of the esophageal musculature in Pax7 (-/-) mice by analyzing morphology, muscle composition, and the expression of markers of myogenesis, cell proliferation, and apoptosis. Pax7 (-/-) mice displayed megaesophagus with a severe defect in the postnatal developmental process whereby esophageal smooth muscle is replaced by skeletal muscle. Pax7 (-/-) esophagi have substantially reduced skeletal muscle, most likely due to diminished proliferation and premature differentiation of skeletal muscle precursor cells. This impaired the proximal-to-distal progression of skeletal myogenesis and indirectly affected the patterning of the smooth muscle-containing portion of the esophageal musculature.
Postnatal patterning of the esophageal musculature appears to require robust, PAX7-dependent cell proliferation to drive the proximal-to-distal progression of skeletal myogenesis. This process in turn influences distal smooth muscle morphogenesis and development of the mature pattern of the esophageal musculature.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Holoprosencephaly (HPE) is a commonly occurring developmental defect in which midline patterning of the forebrain and midface is disrupted. Sonic hedgehog (SHH) signaling is required during multiple stages of rostroventral midline development, and heterozygous mutations in SHH pathway components are associated with HPE. However, clinical presentation of HPE is highly variable, and carriers of heterozygous mutations often lack apparent defects. It is therefore thought that such mutations must interact with more common modifiers, genetic and/or environmental. We have modeled this scenario in mice. Cdon mutant mice have a largely subthreshold defect in SHH signaling, rendering them sensitive to a wide spectrum of HPE phenotypes by additional hits that are themselves insufficient to produce HPE, including transient in utero exposure to ethanol. These variable HPE phenotypes may arise in embryos that fail to reach a threshold level of SHH signaling at a specific developmental stage. To provide evidence for this possibility, here we tested the effect of removing one copy of the negative regulator Ptch1 from Cdon(-/-) embryos and compared their response to ethanol with that of Cdon(-/-);Ptch1(+/+) embryos. Ptch1 heterozygosity decreased the penetrance of HPE in this system by >75%. The major effect of reduced Ptch1 gene dosage was on penetrance, as those Cdon(-/-);Ptch1(+/-) embryos that displayed HPE did not show major differences in phenotype from Cdon(-/-);Ptch1(+/+) embryos with ethanol-induced HPE. Our findings are consistent with the notion that even in an etiologically complex model of HPE, the level of SHH pathway activity is rate-limiting. Furthermore, the clinical outcome of an individual carrying a SHH pathway mutation will likely reflect the sum effect of both deleterious and protective modifier alleles and their interaction with non-genetic risk factors like fetal alcohol exposure.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Postnatal maturation of esophageal musculature involves proximal-to-distal replacement of smooth muscle with skeletal muscle by elusive mechanisms. We report that this process is impaired in mice lacking the cell surface receptor Cdo and identify the underlying developmental mechanism. A myogenic transition zone containing proliferative skeletal muscle precursor cells migrated in a proximal-distal direction, leaving differentiated myofibers in its wake. Distal to the transition zone, smooth muscle fascicles underwent a morphogenetic process whereby they changed their orientation relative to each other and to the lumen. Consequently, a path was cleared for the transition zone, and smooth muscle ultimately occupied only the distal-most esophagus; there was no loss of smooth muscle. Cdo(-/-) mice were specifically defective in fascicular reorientation, resulting in an aberrantly proximal skeletal-smooth muscle boundary. Furthermore, Cdo(-/-) mice displayed megaesophagus and achalasia, and their lower esophageal sphincter was resistant to nitric oxide-induced relaxation, suggesting a developmental linkage between patterning and sphincter function. Collectively, these results illuminate mechanisms of esophageal morphogenesis and motility disorders.
Full-text · Article · Apr 2013 · The Journal of Cell Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Holoprosencephaly (HPE) is a remarkably common congenital anomaly characterized by failure to define the midline of the forebrain and midface. HPE is associated with heterozygous mutations in Sonic hedgehog (SHH) pathway components, but clinical presentation is extremely variable and many mutation carriers are unaffected. It has been proposed that these observations are best explained by a multiple-hit model, in which the penetrance and expressivity of an HPE mutation is enhanced by a second mutation or the presence of cooperating, but otherwise silent, modifier genes. Non-genetic risk factors are also implicated in HPE, and gene-environment interactions may provide an alternative multiple-hit model to purely genetic multiple-hit models; however, there is little evidence for this contention. We report here a mouse model in which there is dramatic synergy between mutation of a bona fide HPE gene (Cdon, which encodes a SHH co-receptor) and a suspected HPE teratogen, ethanol. Loss of Cdon and in utero ethanol exposure in 129S6 mice give little or no phenotype individually, but together produce defects in early midline patterning, inhibition of SHH signaling in the developing forebrain, and a broad spectrum of HPE phenotypes. Our findings argue that ethanol is indeed a risk factor for HPE, but genetically predisposed individuals, such as those with SHH pathway mutations, may be particularly susceptible. Furthermore, gene-environment interactions are likely to be important in the multifactorial etiology of HPE.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Digit patterning integrates signaling by the Sonic Hedgehog (SHH), fibroblast growth factor (FGF), and bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) pathways. GLI3, a component of the SHH pathway, is a major regulator of digit number and identity. Neogenin (encoded by Neo1) is a cell surface protein that serves to transduce signals from several ligands, including BMPs, in various developmental contexts. Although neogenin is implicated in BMP signaling, it has not been linked to SHH signaling and its role in digit patterning is unknown.
We report that Neo1 mutant mice have preaxial polydactyly with low penetrance. Expression of SHH target genes, but not BMP target genes, is altered in Neo1 mutant limb buds. Analysis of mice carrying mutations in both Neo1 and Gli3 reveals that, although neogenin plays a role in constraint of digit numbers, suppressing polydactyly, it is also required for the severe polydactyly caused by loss of GLI3. Furthermore, embryo fibroblasts from Neo1 mutant mice are sensitized to SHH pathway activation in vitro.
Our findings indicate that neogenin regulates SHH signaling in the limb bud to achieve proper digit patterning.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2012 · Developmental Dynamics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Myogenic differentiation involves cell-cycle arrest, activation of the muscle-specific transcriptome, and elongation, alignment and fusion of myoblasts into multinucleated myotubes. This process is controlled by promyogenic transcription factors and regulated by signaling pathways in response to extracellular cues. The p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38 MAPK) pathway promotes the activity of several such transcription factors, including MyoD and MEF2, thereby controlling the muscle-specific transcription program. However, few p38-regulated genes that play a role in the regulation of myogenesis have been identified.
RNA interference (RNAi), chemical inhibition and immunofluorescence approaches were used to assess the role of drebrin in differentiation of primary mouse myoblasts and C2C12 cells.
In a search for p38-regulated genes that promote myogenic differentiation, we identified Dbn1, which encodes the actin-binding protein drebrin. Drebrin is an F-actin side-binding protein that remodels actin to facilitate the change of filopodia into dendritic spines during synaptogenesis in developing neurons. Dbn1 mRNA and protein are induced during differentiation of primary mouse and C2C12 myoblasts, and induction is substantially reduced by the p38 MAPK inhibitor SB203580. Primary myoblasts and C2C12 cells depleted of drebrin by RNAi display reduced levels of myogenin and myosin heavy chain and form multinucleated myotubes very inefficiently. Treatment of myoblasts with BTP2, a small-molecule inhibitor of drebrin, produces a phenotype similar to that produced by knockdown of drebrin, and the inhibitory effects of BTP2 are rescued by expression of a mutant form of drebrin that is unable to bind BTP2. Drebrin in myoblasts is enriched in cellular projections and cell cortices and at regions of cell-cell contact, all sites where F-actin, too, was concentrated.
Our findings reveal that Dbn1 expression is a target of p38 MAPK signaling during myogenesis and that drebrin promotes myoblast differentiation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Holoprosencephaly (HPE), a common human congenital anomaly defined by a failure to delineate the midline of the forebrain and/or midface, is associated with diminished Sonic hedgehog (SHH)-pathway activity in development of these structures. SHH signaling is regulated by a network of ligand-binding factors, including the primary receptor PTCH1 and the putative coreceptors, CDON (also called CDO), BOC, and GAS1. Although binding of SHH to these receptors promotes pathway activity, it is not known whether interactions between these receptors are important. We report here identification of missense CDON mutations in human HPE. These mutations diminish CDON's ability to support SHH-dependent gene expression in cell-based signaling assays. The mutations occur outside the SHH-binding domain of CDON, and the encoded variant CDON proteins do not display defects in binding to SHH. In contrast, wild-type CDON associates with PTCH1 and GAS1, but the variants do so inefficiently, in a manner that parallels their activity in cell-based assays. Our findings argue that CDON must associate with both ligand and other hedgehog-receptor components, particularly PTCH1, for signaling to occur and that disruption of the latter interactions is a mechanism of HPE.
Preview · Article · Aug 2011 · The American Journal of Human Genetics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hedgehog (Hh) proteins regulate important developmental processes, including cell proliferation and differentiation. Although Patched acts as the main Hh receptor in Drosophila, Hh signaling absolutely requires the additional Hh-binding proteins Ihog and Boi. Here we show that, unexpectedly, cerebellar granule neuron progenitors (CGNPs) lacking Boc and Cdon, the vertebrate orthologs of Ihog and Boi, still proliferate in response to Hh. This is because in their absence, Gas1, an Hh-binding protein not present in Drosophila, mediates Hh signaling. Consistently, only CGNPs lacking all three molecules-Boc, Cdon, and Gas1-have a complete loss of Hh-dependent proliferation. In a complementary manner, we find that a mutated Hh ligand that binds Patched1 but not Boc, Cdon, or Gas1 cannot activate Hh signaling. Together, this demonstrates an absolute requirement for Boc, Cdon, and Gas1 in Hh signaling and reveals a distinct requirement for ligand-binding components that distinguishes the vertebrate and invertebrate Hh receptor systems.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2011 · Developmental Cell
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Secreted Hedgehog (HH) ligands signal through the canonical receptor Patched (PTCH1). However, recent studies implicate three additional HH-binding, cell-surface proteins, GAS1, CDO, and BOC, as putative coreceptors for HH ligands. A central question is to what degree these coreceptors function similarly and what their collective requirement in HH signal transduction is. Here we provide evidence that GAS1, CDO, and BOC play overlapping and essential roles during HH-mediated ventral neural patterning of the mammalian neural tube. Specifically, we demonstrate two important roles for these molecules: an early role in cell fate specification of multiple neural progenitors and a later role in motor neuron progenitor maintenance. Most strikingly, genetic loss-of-function experiments indicate an obligatory requirement for GAS1, CDO, and BOC in HH pathway activity in multiple tissues.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2011 · Developmental Cell
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Holoprosencephaly (HPE) is caused by a failure to form the midline of the forebrain and/or midface. It is one of the most common human birth defects, but clinical expression is extremely variable. HPE is associated with mutations in the sonic hedgehog (SHH) pathway. Mice lacking the Shh pathway regulator Cdo (also called Cdon) display HPE with strain-dependent penetrance and expressivity, implicating silent modifier genes as one cause of the variability. However, the identities of potential HPE modifiers of this type are unknown. We report here that whereas mice lacking the Cdo paralog Boc do not have HPE, Cdo;Boc double mutants on a largely Cdo-resistant genetic background have lobar HPE with strong craniofacial anomalies and defects in Shh target gene expression in the developing forebrain. Boc is therefore a silent HPE modifier gene in mice. Furthermore, Cdo and Boc have specific, selective roles in Shh signaling in mammals, because Cdo;Boc double-mutant mice do not display the most severe HPE phenotype seen in Shh-null mice, nor do they have major defects in digit patterning or development of vertebrae, which are also Shh-dependent processes. This is in contrast to reported observations in Drosophila, where genetic removal of the Cdo and Boc orthologs Ihog and Boi results in a complete loss of response to the hedgehog ligand. Therefore, there is evolutionary divergence between mammals and insects in the requirement of the hedgehog pathway for Cdo/Ihog family members, with mammalian development involving additional factors and/or distinct mechanisms at this level of pathway regulation.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2010 · Disease Models and Mechanisms
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Skeletal myoblast differentiation involves acquisition of the muscle-specific transcriptional program and morphological changes, including fusion into multinucleated myofibers. Differentiation is regulated by extracellular signaling cues, including cell-cell contact and adhesion. Cadherin and Ig adhesion receptors have been implicated in distinct but overlapping stages of myogenesis. N-cadherin signals through the Ig receptor Cdo to activate p38 MAP kinase, while the Ig receptor neogenin signals to activate FAK; both processes promote muscle-specific gene expression and myoblast fusion. M-cadherin activates Rac1 to enhance fusion. Specific Ig receptors (Kirre and Sns) are essential for myoblast fusion in Drosophila, also signaling through Rac, and vertebrate orthologs of Kirre and Sns have partially conserved function. Mice lacking specific cytoplasmic signaling factors activated by multiple receptors (e.g., Rac1) have strong muscle phenotypes in vivo. In contrast, mice lacking individual adhesion receptors that lie upstream of these factors have modest phenotypes. Redundancy among receptors may account for this. Many of the mammalian Ig receptors and cadherins associate with each other, and multivalent interactions within these complexes may require removal of multiple components to reveal dramatic defects in vivo. Nevertheless, it is possible that the murine adhesion receptors rate-limiting in vivo have not yet been identified or fully assessed.
Preview · Article · Nov 2010 · Experimental Cell Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cell-cell contact promotes myogenic differentiation but the mechanisms that regulate this phenomenon are not well understood. Cdo (also known as Cdon), an Ig superfamily member, functions as a component of cell surface complexes to promote myogenic differentiation through activation of p38alpha/beta MAP kinase. We recently showed that N-cadherin ligation activated p38alpha/beta in a Cdo-dependent manner, whereas N-cadherin ligation-dependent activation of ERK MAP kinase was not affected by loss of Cdo. The non-receptor tyrosine kinase Abl associates with Cdo during myoblast differentiation and is necessary for full activition of p38alpha/beta during this process. The Abl SH3 domain binds to a PxxP motif in the Cdo intracellular domain, and both these motifs are required for their promyogenic activity. Here we show that Abl is necessary for p38alpha/beta activation initiated by N-cadherin ligation, but in contrast to Cdo, Abl is also required for N-cadherin-dependent ERK activation. Moreover, Abl is required for efficient cadherin-mediated myoblast aggregation via modulation of RhoA-ROCK signaling. Therefore, Abl regulates N-cadherin-mediated p38alpha/beta activation by multiple mechanisms, more generally through regulation of cell-cell adhesion and specifically as a component of Cdo-containing complexes. The role of Cdo as a multifunctional coreceptor with roles in several pathways is also discussed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Skeletal muscle development serves as a paradigm for cell lineage specification and cell differentiation. Adult skeletal muscle has high regenerative capacity, with satellite cells the primary source of this capability. The present review describes recent findings on developmental and adult myogenesis with emphasis on emerging distinctions between various muscle groups and stages of myogenesis.
Muscle progenitors of the body are derived from multipotent cells of the dermomyotome and express the transcription factors Pax3 and Pax7. These cells self-renew or induce expression of myogenic regulatory factors (MRFs) and differentiate. The roles of Pax3, Pax7 and specific myogenic regulatory factor progenitor populations in trunk and limb myogenesis have been identified through cell ablation in the mouse. Various head muscles and associated satellite cells have differing developmental origins, and rely on distinct combinations of transcriptional regulators, than trunk and limb muscles. Several genetic and sorting protocols demonstrate that satellite cells are heterogeneous with some possessing stem cell properties; the relative roles of lineage and niche in these properties are being explored. Although cellular mechanisms of developmental, postnatal and adult regenerative myogenesis are thought to be similar, recent studies reveal distinct genetic requirements for embryonic, fetal, postnatal and adult regenerative myogenesis.
Genetic determinants of formation or repair of various muscles during different stages of myogenesis are unexpectedly diverse. Future studies should illuminate these differences, as well as mechanisms that underlie stem cell properties of satellite cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The p38alpha/beta mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway promotes muscle-specific gene expression and myoblast differentiation but how pathway activity is initiated during these processes is poorly understood. During myoblast differentiation, the intracellular region of the promyogenic cell surface protein Cdo (also known as Cdon) binds to Bnip-2 and JLP, scaffold proteins for Cdc42 and p38alpha/beta MAPK, respectively. The Bnip-2/Cdc42 and JLP/p38alpha/beta complexes associate in a Cdo-dependent manner, resulting in Bnip-2/Cdc42-dependent p38alpha/beta activation and stimulation of cell differentiation. Although the Cdo ectodomain binds to several different proteins, it is unclear how Cdo-dependent p38alpha/beta activation is initiated. In myoblasts, Cdo interacts with the cell-cell adhesion molecule N-cadherin. Cdo also binds directly to the secreted morphogen Sonic hedgehog (Shh) to promote Shh pathway signaling. We report here that N-cadherin ligation activates p38alpha/beta in myoblasts in a Cdo-, Bnip-2-, and JLP-dependent manner. Furthermore, these proteins and activated Cdc42 cluster at sites of N-cadherin ligation. In contrast, neither JLP nor Bnip-2 is associated with Cdo bound to Shh, and Shh does not activate p38alpha/beta in myoblasts. Taken together, these results link cadherin-based cell-cell adhesion to a defined signaling pathway (Cdo --> p38alpha/beta) that directly regulates a cell-type-specific differentiation program. Furthermore, they are consistent with a model whereby Cdo serves as a multifunctional coreceptor with mechanistically distinct roles in multiple signaling pathways.
Preview · Article · Feb 2010 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A variety of signaling pathways participate in the development of skeletal muscle, but the extracellular cues that regulate such pathways in myofiber formation are not well understood. Neogenin is a receptor for ligands of the netrin and repulsive guidance molecule (RGM) families involved in axon guidance. We reported previously that neogenin promoted myotube formation by C2C12 myoblasts in vitro and that the related protein Cdo (also Cdon) was a potential neogenin coreceptor in myoblasts. We report here that mice homozygous for a gene-trap mutation in the Neo1 locus (encoding neogenin) develop myotomes normally but have small myofibers at embryonic day 18.5 and at 3 wk of age. Similarly, cultured myoblasts derived from such animals form smaller myotubes with fewer nuclei than myoblasts from control animals. These in vivo and in vitro defects are associated with low levels of the activated forms of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), both known to be involved in myotube formation, and inefficient expression of certain muscle-specific proteins. Recombinant netrin-2 activates FAK and ERK in cultured myoblasts in a neogenin- and Cdo-dependent manner, whereas recombinant RGMc displays lesser ability to activate these kinases. Together, netrin-neogenin signaling is an important extracellular cue in regulation of myogenic differentiation and myofiber size.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2009 · Molecular biology of the cell
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vertebrate eye development requires a series of complex morphogenetic and inductive events to produce a lens vesicle centered within the bilayered optic cup and a posteriorly positioned optic stalk. Multiple congenital eye defects, including microphthalmia and coloboma, result from defects in early eye morphogenesis. Cdo is a multifunctional cell surface immunoglobulin superfamily member that interacts with and mediates signaling by cadherins and netrins to regulate myogenesis. In addition, Cdo plays an essential role in early forebrain development by functioning as coreceptor for sonic hedgehog. It is reported here that Cdo is expressed in a dynamic, but dorsally restricted, fashion during early eye development, and that mice lacking Cdo display multiple eye defects. Anomalies seen in Cdo(-/-) mice include coloboma (failure to close the optic fissure); failure to form a proper boundary between the retinal pigmented epithelium and optic stalk; defective lens formation, including failure to separate from the surface ectoderm; and microphthalmia. Consistent with this wide array of defects, developing eyes of Cdo(-/-) mice show altered expression of several regulators of dorsoventral eye patterning, including Pax6, Pax2, and Tbx5. Taken together, these findings show that Cdo is required for normal eye development and is required for normal expression of patterning genes in both the ventral and dorsal domains. The multiple eye development defects seen in Cdo(-/-) mice suggest that mutations in human Cdo could contribute to congenital eye anomalies, such as Jacobsen syndrome, which is frequently associated with ocular defects, including coloboma and Peters' anomaly.