ResearchPad - bmp-signaling https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[The transition from local to global patterns governs the differentiation of mouse blastocysts]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14745 During mammalian blastocyst development, inner cell mass (ICM) cells differentiate into epiblast (Epi) or primitive endoderm (PrE). These two fates are characterized by the expression of the transcription factors NANOG and GATA6, respectively. Here, we investigate the spatio-temporal distribution of NANOG and GATA6 expressing cells in the ICM of the mouse blastocysts with quantitative three-dimensional single cell-based neighbourhood analyses. We define the cell neighbourhood by local features, which include the expression levels of both fate markers expressed in each cell and its neighbours, and the number of neighbouring cells. We further include the position of a cell relative to the centre of the ICM as a global positional feature. Our analyses reveal a local three-dimensional pattern that is already present in early blastocysts: 1) Cells expressing the highest NANOG levels are surrounded by approximately nine neighbours, while 2) cells expressing GATA6 cluster according to their GATA6 levels. This local pattern evolves into a global pattern in the ICM that starts to emerge in mid blastocysts. We show that FGF/MAPK signalling is involved in the three-dimensional distribution of the cells and, using a mutant background, we further show that the GATA6 neighbourhood is regulated by NANOG. Our quantitative study suggests that the three-dimensional cell neighbourhood plays a role in Epi and PrE precursor specification. Our results highlight the importance of analysing the three-dimensional cell neighbourhood while investigating cell fate decisions during early mouse embryonic development.

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<![CDATA[Furin, a transcriptional target of NKX2-5, has an essential role in heart development and function]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c897793d5eed0c4847d307a

The homeodomain transcription factor NKX2-5 is known to be essential for both normal heart development and for heart function. But little is yet known about the identities of its downstream effectors or their function during differentiation of cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs). We have used transgenic analysis and CRISPR-mediated ablation to identify a cardiac enhancer of the Furin gene. The Furin gene, encoding a proprotein convertase, is directly repressed by NKX2-5. Deletion of Furin in CPCs is embryonic lethal, with mutant hearts showing a range of abnormalities in the outflow tract. Those defects are associated with a reduction in proliferation and premature differentiation of the CPCs. Deletion of Furin in differentiated cardiomyocytes results in viable adult mutant mice showing an elongation of the PR interval, a phenotype that is consistent with the phenotype of mice and human mutant for Nkx2-5. Our results show that Furin mediate some aspects of Nkx2-5 function in the heart.

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<![CDATA[A Notch-mediated, temporal asymmetry in BMP pathway activation promotes photoreceptor subtype diversification]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5ca2d9d5eed0c48441ebbe

Neural progenitors produce neurons whose identities can vary as a function of the time that specification occurs. Here, we describe the heterochronic specification of two photoreceptor (PhR) subtypes in the zebrafish pineal gland. We find that accelerating PhR specification by impairing Notch signaling favors the early fate at the expense of the later fate. Using in vivo lineage tracing, we show that most pineal PhRs are born from a fate-restricted progenitor. Furthermore, sister cells derived from the division of PhR-restricted progenitors activate the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling pathway at different times after division, and this heterochrony requires Notch activity. Finally, we demonstrate that PhR identity is established as a function of when the BMP pathway is activated. We propose a novel model in which division of a progenitor with restricted potential generates sister cells with distinct identities via a temporal asymmetry in the activation of a signaling pathway.

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<![CDATA[Differential aging of growth plate cartilage underlies differences in bone length and thus helps determine skeletal proportions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b60363a463d7e4090b7ce28

Bones at different anatomical locations vary dramatically in size. For example, human femurs are 20-fold longer than the phalanges in the fingers and toes. The mechanisms responsible for these size differences are poorly understood. Bone elongation occurs at the growth plates and advances rapidly in early life but then progressively slows due to a developmental program termed “growth plate senescence.” This developmental program includes declines in cell proliferation and hypertrophy, depletion of cells in all growth plate zones, and extensive underlying changes in the expression of growth-regulating genes. Here, we show evidence that these functional, structural, and molecular senescent changes occur earlier in the growth plates of smaller bones (metacarpals, phalanges) than in the growth plates of larger bones (femurs, tibias) and that this differential aging contributes to the disparities in bone length. We also show evidence that the molecular mechanisms that underlie the differential aging between different bones involve modulation of critical paracrine regulatory pathways, including insulin-like growth factor (Igf), bone morphogenetic protein (Bmp), and Wingless and Int-1 (Wnt) signaling. Taken together, the findings reveal that the striking disparities in the lengths of different bones, which characterize normal mammalian skeletal proportions, is achieved in part by modulating the progression of growth plate senescence.

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<![CDATA[Regulation of Dense-Core Granule Replenishment by Autocrine BMP Signalling in Drosophila Secondary Cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daceab0ee8fa60bb56d8

Regulated secretion by glands and neurons involves release of signalling molecules and enzymes selectively concentrated in dense-core granules (DCGs). Although we understand how many secretagogues stimulate DCG release, how DCG biogenesis is then accelerated to replenish the DCG pool remains poorly characterised. Here we demonstrate that each prostate-like secondary cell (SC) in the paired adult Drosophila melanogaster male accessory glands contains approximately ten large DCGs, which are loaded with the Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP) ligand Decapentaplegic (Dpp). These DCGs can be marked in living tissue by a glycophosphatidylinositol (GPI) lipid-anchored form of GFP. In virgin males, BMP signalling is sporadically activated by constitutive DCG secretion. Upon mating, approximately four DCGs are typically released immediately, increasing BMP signalling, primarily via an autocrine mechanism. Using inducible knockdown specifically in adult SCs, we show that secretion requires the Soluble NSF Attachment Protein, SNAP24. Furthermore, mating-dependent BMP signalling not only promotes cell growth, but is also necessary to accelerate biogenesis of new DCGs, restoring DCG number within 24 h. Our analysis therefore reveals an autocrine BMP-mediated feedback mechanism for matching DCG release to replenishment as secretion rates fluctuate, and might explain why in other disease-relevant systems, like pancreatic β-cells, BMP signalling is also implicated in the control of secretion.

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<![CDATA[The Study on Biological Function of Keratin 26, a Novel Member of Liaoning Cashmere Goat Keratin Gene Family]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da45ab0ee8fa60b8b528

In our research, we explored the relationship between Keratin 26 and the regulation of fine hair, BMP signaling pathway, MT, FGF5, and IGF-I. The result of hybridization in situ revealed that Keratin 26 was specially expressed in cortex of skin hair follicles; the result of immunohistochemistry indicated that Keratin 26 was expressed in internal root sheath, external root sheath. Then, Real-time quantitative PCR results showed that relative expressive quantity of Keratin 26 was 1.08 or 3.3 × greater in secondary follicle than primary follicle during anagen or catagen; the difference during anagen was not remarkable (p>0.05), however, that of catagen was extremely significant (p<0.01). Relative expressive quantity of Keratin 26 increased during telogen; the difference was extremely significant (p<0.01). Moreover, after Noggin expression interference using RNAi technology, we found that relative expressive quantity of Keratin 26 extremely remarkably declined (p<0.01); after K26 overexpression, we found that relative expressive quantity of Noggin extremely remarkably increased (p<0.01). We detected expressive quantity change of Keratin 26 and Keratin 26 using Real-time quantitative PCR and immunofluorescence technologies after fibroblasts were treated with MT, FGF5 or IGF-I; the results indicated that MT and FGF5 played a positive role in Keratin 26 and Keratin 26 expression, IGF-I played a negative role in Keratin 26 expression, positive role in Keratin 26 expression. The results above showed that Keratin 26 could inhibit cashmere growth, and was related to entering to catagen and telogen of hair follicles; Keratin 26 and BMP signaling pathway were two antagonistic pathways each other which could inhibit growth and development of cashmere; MT, FGF5 and IGF-I could affect expression of Keratin 26 and Keratin 26, and Keratin 26 was one of the important pathways that MT induced cashmere production in advance, FGF5 regulated cashmere growth and IGF-I promoted cashmere growth and development.

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<![CDATA[Anteroposterior Limb Skeletal Patterning Requires the Bifunctional Action of SWI/SNF Chromatin Remodeling Complex in Hedgehog Pathway]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da5bab0ee8fa60b8ff84

Graded Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling governs vertebrate limb skeletal patterning along the anteroposterior (AP) axis by regulating the activity of bifunctional Gli transcriptional regulators. The genetic networks involved in this patterning are well defined, however, the epigenetic control of the process by chromatin remodelers remains unknown. Here, we report that the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex is essential for Shh-driven limb AP patterning. Specific inactivation of Srg3/mBaf155, a core subunit of the remodeling complex, in developing limb buds hampered the transcriptional upregulation of Shh/Gli target genes, including the Shh receptor Ptch1 and its downstream effector Gli1 in the posterior limb bud. In addition, Srg3 deficiency induced ectopic activation of the Hedgehog (Hh) pathway in the anterior mesenchyme, resulting in loss of progressive asymmetry. These defects in the Hh pathway accompanied aberrant BMP activity and disruption of chondrogenic differentiation in zeugopod and autopod primordia. Notably, our data revealed that dual control of the Hh pathway by the SWI/SNF complex is essential for spatiotemporal transcriptional regulation of the BMP antagonist Gremlin1, which affects the onset of chondrogenesis. This study uncovers the bifunctional role of the SWI/SNF complex in the Hh pathway to determine the fate of AP skeletal progenitors.

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<![CDATA[TGFβ and BMP Dependent Cell Fate Changes Due to Loss of Filamin B Produces Disc Degeneration and Progressive Vertebral Fusions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da62ab0ee8fa60b91249

Spondylocarpotarsal synostosis (SCT) is an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by progressive vertebral fusions and caused by loss of function mutations in Filamin B (FLNB). FLNB acts as a signaling scaffold by linking the actin cytoskleteon to signal transduction systems, yet the disease mechanisms for SCT remain unclear. Employing a Flnb knockout mouse, we found morphologic and molecular evidence that the intervertebral discs (IVDs) of Flnb–/–mice undergo rapid and progressive degeneration during postnatal development as a result of abnormal cell fate changes in the IVD, particularly the annulus fibrosus (AF). In Flnb–/–mice, the AF cells lose their typical fibroblast-like characteristics and acquire the molecular and phenotypic signature of hypertrophic chondrocytes. This change is characterized by hallmarks of endochondral-like ossification including alterations in collagen matrix, expression of Collagen X, increased apoptosis, and inappropriate ossification of the disc tissue. We show that conversion of the AF cells into chondrocytes is coincident with upregulated TGFβ signaling via Smad2/3 and BMP induced p38 signaling as well as sustained activation of canonical and noncanonical target genes p21 and Ctgf. These findings indicate that FLNB is involved in attenuation of TGFβ/BMP signaling and influences AF cell fate. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the IVD disruptions in Flnb–/–mice resemble aging degenerative discs and reveal new insights into the molecular causes of vertebral fusions and disc degeneration.

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<![CDATA[Utilizing BMP-2 muteins for treatment of multiple myeloma]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5aab0ee8fa60bdf6d4

Multiple myeloma (MM) represents a haematological cancer characterized by the pathological hyper proliferation of antibody-producing B-lymphocytes. Patients typically suffer from kidney malfunction and skeletal disorders. In the context of MM, the transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) member Activin A was recently identified as a promoter of both accompanying symptoms. Because studies have shown that bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)-2-mediated activities are counteracted by Activin A, we analysed whether BMP2, which also binds to the Activin A receptors ActRII and ActRIIB but activates the alternative SMAD-1/5/8 pathway, can be used to antagonize Activin A activities, such as in the context of MM. Therefore three BMP2 derivatives were generated with modified binding activities for the type II (ActRIIB) and/or type I receptor (BMPRIA) showing either increased or decreased BMP2 activity. In the context of MM these BMP2 muteins show two functionalities since they act as a) an anti-proliferative/apoptotic agent against neoplastic B-cells, b) as a bone-formation promoting growth factor. The molecular basis of both activities was shown in two different cellular models to clearly rely on the properties of the investigated BMP2 muteins to compete for the binding of Activin A to the Activin type II receptors. The experimental outcome suggests new therapeutic strategies using BMP2 variants in the treatment of MM-related pathologies.

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<![CDATA[Embryonic Ethanol Exposure Dysregulates BMP and Notch Signaling, Leading to Persistent Atrio-Ventricular Valve Defects in Zebrafish]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da24ab0ee8fa60b7ff8a

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), birth defects associated with ethanol exposure in utero, includes a wide spectrum of congenital heart defects (CHDs), the most prevalent of which are septal and conotruncal defects. Zebrafish FASD model was used to dissect the mechanisms underlying FASD-associated CHDs. Embryonic ethanol exposure (3–24 hours post fertilization) led to defects in atrio-ventricular (AV) valvulogenesis beginning around 37 hpf, a morphogenetic event that arises long after ethanol withdrawal. Valve leaflets of the control embryos comprised two layers of cells confined at the compact atrio-ventricular canal (AVC). Ethanol treated embryos had extended AVC and valve forming cells were found either as rows of cells spanning the AVC or as unorganized clusters near the AV boundary. Ethanol exposure reduced valve precursors at the AVC, but some ventricular cells in ethanol treated embryos exhibited few characteristics of valve precursors. Late staged larvae and juvenile fish exposed to ethanol during embryonic development had faulty AV valves. Examination of AVC morphogenesis regulatory networks revealed that early ethanol exposure disrupted the Bmp signaling gradient in the heart during valve formation. Bmp signaling was prominent at the AVC in controls, but ethanol-exposed embryos displayed active Bmp signaling throughout the ventricle. Ethanol exposure also led to mislocalization of Notch signaling cells in endocardium during AV valve formation. Normally, highly active Notch signaling cells were organized at the AVC. In ethanol-exposed embryos, highly active Notch signaling cells were dispersed throughout the ventricle. At later stages, ethanol-exposed embryos exhibited reduced Wnt/β-catenin activity at the AVC. We conclude that early embryonic ethanol exposure alters Bmp, Notch and other signaling activities during AVC differentiation leading to faulty valve morphogenesis and valve defects persist in juvenile fish.

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<![CDATA[MxA Is a Novel Regulator of Endosome-Associated Transcriptional Signaling by Bone Morphogenetic Proteins 4 and 9 (BMP4 and BMP9)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9e5ab0ee8fa60b6b1ff

There is confusion about the role that IFN-α plays in the pathogenesis of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) with different investigators reporting a causative or a protective role. There is now clear evidence in PAH pathogenesis for the involvement of BMP4 and BMP9 signaling, and its disruption by mutations in BMPR2. In the present study, we investigated MxA, an IFN-α-inducible cytoplasmic dynamin-family GTPase for effects on BMP4/9 signaling, including in the presence of PAH-disease-associated mutants of BMPR2. In human pulmonary arterial endothelial cells (HPAECs), IFN-α-induced endogenous as well as exogenously expressed MxA was associated with endosomes that aligned alongside microtubules and tubules of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Moreover, IFN-α and MxA stimulated basal and BMP4/9 signaling to a Smad1/5/8-responsive pBRE-Luc reporter. In HEK293T cells, immunoelectron microscopy confirmed the association of MxA with endosomes, and immunofluorescence methods showed these to be positive for early endosome markers (early endosomal antigen 1, clathrin light chain and Rab5) and RSmad1/5/8. Functionally, using different genetic and inhibitor approaches, we observed that clathrin-mediated endocytosis enhanced and caveolin-mediated endocytosis inhibited the transcriptional response to BMP4 and BMP9. MxA produced a further 3-4-fold enhancement of the BMP-induced response in a clathrin-endocytosis dependent manner. The microtubule inhibitor nocodazole and stabilizer paclitaxel respectively attenuated and enhanced the effect of MxA, implicating microtubule integrity in this process. MxA enhanced BMP-induced signaling in the presence of wild-type BMPR2, and partially rescued signaling from some PAH-disease-associated BMPR2 mutants. Taken together, the data identify MxA as a novel stimulator of BMP4 and BMP9 transcriptional signaling, and suggest it to be a candidate IFN-α-inducible mechanism that might have a protective role against development of PAH and other vascular diseases.

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<![CDATA[Tumor-Derived Factors and Reduced p53 Promote Endothelial Cell Centrosome Over-Duplication]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da18ab0ee8fa60b7bdcb

Approximately 30% of tumor endothelial cells have over-duplicated (>2) centrosomes, which may contribute to abnormal vessel function and drug resistance. Elevated levels of vascular endothelial growth factor A induce excess centrosomes in endothelial cells, but how other features of the tumor environment affect centrosome over-duplication is not known. To test this, we treated endothelial cells with tumor-derived factors, hypoxia, or reduced p53, and assessed centrosome numbers. We found that hypoxia and elevated levels of bone morphogenetic protein 2, 6 and 7 induced excess centrosomes in endothelial cells through BMPR1A and likely via SMAD signaling. In contrast, inflammatory mediators IL-8 and lipopolysaccharide did not induce excess centrosomes. Finally, down-regulation in endothelial cells of p53, a critical regulator of DNA damage and proliferation, caused centrosome over-duplication. Our findings suggest that some tumor-derived factors and genetic changes in endothelial cells contribute to excess centrosomes in tumor endothelial cells.

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<![CDATA[iTRAQ-Based Quantitative Proteomic Comparison of Early- and Late-Passage Human Dermal Papilla Cell Secretome in Relation to Inducing Hair Follicle Regeneration]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dab4ab0ee8fa60bac669

Alopecia is an exceedingly prevalent problem that lacks effective therapy. Recently, research has focused on early-passage dermal papilla cells (DPCs), which have hair inducing activity both in vivo and in vitro. Our previous study indicated that factors secreted from early-passage DPCs contribute to hair follicle (HF) regeneration. To identify which factors are responsible for HF regeneration and why late-passage DPCs lose this potential, we collected 48-h-culture medium (CM) from both of passage 3 and 9 DPCs, and subcutaneously injected the DPC-CM into NU/NU mice. Passage 3 DPC-CM induced HF regeneration, based on the emergence of a white hair coat, but passage 9 DPC-CM did not. In order to identify the key factors responsible for hair induction, CM from passage 3 and 9 DPCs was analyzed by iTRAQ-based quantitative proteomic technology. We identified 1360 proteins, of which 213 proteins were differentially expressed between CM from early-passage vs. late-passage DPCs, including SDF1, MMP3, biglycan and LTBP1. Further analysis indicated that the differentially-expressed proteins regulated the Wnt, TGF-β and BMP signaling pathways, which directly and indirectly participate in HF morphogenesis and regeneration. Subsequently, we selected 19 proteins for further verification by multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) between the two types of CM. These results indicate DPC-secreted proteins play important roles in HF regeneration, with SDF1, MMP3, biglycan, and LTBP1 being potential key inductive factors secreted by dermal papilla cells in the regeneration of hair follicles.

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<![CDATA[Comparative Transcriptome Analysis Reveals that a Ubiquitin-Mediated Proteolysis Pathway Is Important for Primary and Secondary Hair Follicle Development in Cashmere Goats]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da39ab0ee8fa60b87593

Background

The fleece of cashmere goats contains two distinct populations of fibers, a short and fine non-medullated insulating cashmere fiber and a long and coarse medullated guard hair. The former is produced by secondary follicles (SFs) and the later by primary follicles (PFs). Evidence suggests that the induction of PFs and SFs may require different signaling pathways. The regulation of BMP2/4 signaling by noggin and Edar signaling via Downless genes are essential for the induction of SFs and PFs, respectively. However, these differently expressed genes of the signaling pathway cannot directly distinguish between the PFs and SFs.

Results

In this study, we selected RNA samples from 11 PFs and 7 SFs that included 145,525 exons. The pathway analysis of 4512 differentially expressed exons revealed that the most statistically significant metabolic pathway was related to the ubiquitin–mediated proteolysis pathway (UMPP) (P<3.32x 10−7). In addition, the 51 exons of the UMPP that were differentially expressed between the different types of hair follicle (HFs) were compared by cluster analysis. This resulted in the PFs and SFs being divided into two classes. The expression level of two selected exons was analyzed by qRT-PCR, and the results indicated that the expression patterns were consistent with the deep sequencing results obtained by RNA-Seq.

Conclusions

Based on the comparative transcriptome analysis of 18 HFs from cashmere goats, a large number of differentially expressed exons were identified using a high-throughput sequencing approach. This study suggests that UMPP activation is a prominent signaling pathway for distinguishing the PFs and SFs of cashmere goats. It is also a meaningful contribution to the theoretical basis of the biological study of the HFs of cashmere goats and other mammals.

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<![CDATA[Antagonistic Functions of USAG-1 and RUNX2 during Tooth Development]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9e3ab0ee8fa60b6a5c2

Supernumerary teeth and tooth agenesis are common morphological anomalies in humans. We previously obtained evidence that supernumerary maxillary incisors form as a result of the successive development of the rudimentary maxillary incisor tooth germ in Usag-1 null mice. The development of tooth germs is arrested in Runx2 null mice, and such mice also exhibit lingual epithelial buds associated with the upper molars and incisors. The aim of this study is to investigate the potential crosstalk between Usag-1 and Runx2 during tooth development. In the present study, three interesting phenomena were observed in double null Usag-1-/-/Runx2-/- mice: the prevalence of supernumerary teeth was lower than in Usag-1 null mice; tooth development progressed further compared than in Runx2 null mice; and the frequency of molar lingual buds was lower than in Runx2 null mice. Therefore, we suggest that RUNX2 and USAG-1 act in an antagonistic manner. The lingual bud was completely filled with odontogenic epithelial Sox2-positive cells in the Usag-1+/+/Runx2-/- mice, whereas almost no odontogenic epithelial Sox2-positive cells contributed to supernumerary tooth formation in the rudimentary maxillary incisors of the Usag-1-/-/Runx2+/+ mice. Our findings suggest that RUNX2 directly or indirectly prevents the differentiation and/or proliferation of odontogenic epithelial Sox2-positive cells. We hypothesize that RUNX2 inhibits the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) and/or Wnt signaling pathways regulated by USAG-1, whereas RUNX2 expression is induced by BMP signaling independently of USAG-1.

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<![CDATA[C. elegans DAF-16/FOXO interacts with TGF-ß/BMP signaling to induce germline tumor formation via mTORC1 activation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5cab0ee8fa60be03f3

Activation of the FOXO transcription factor DAF-16 by reduced insulin/IGF signaling (IIS) is considered to be beneficial in C. elegans due to its ability to extend lifespan and to enhance stress resistance. In the germline, cell-autonomous DAF-16 activity prevents stem cell proliferation, thus acting tumor-suppressive. In contrast, hypodermal DAF-16 causes a tumorous germline phenotype characterized by hyperproliferation of the germline stem cells and rupture of the adjacent basement membrane. Here we show that cross-talk between DAF-16 and the transforming growth factor ß (TGFß)/bone morphogenic protein (BMP) signaling pathway causes germline hyperplasia and results in disruption of the basement membrane. In addition to activating MADM/NRBP/hpo-11 genes alone, DAF-16 also directly interacts with both R-SMAD proteins SMA-2 and SMA-3 in the nucleus to regulate the expression of mTORC1 pathway. Knocking-down of BMP genes or each of the four target genes in the hypodermis was sufficient to inhibit germline proliferation, indicating a cell-non-autonomously controlled regulation of stem cell proliferation by somatic tissues. We propose the existence of two antagonistic DAF-16/FOXO functions, a cell-proliferative somatic and an anti-proliferative germline activity. Whereas germline hyperplasia under reduced IIS is inhibited by DAF-16 cell-autonomously, activation of somatic DAF-16 in the presence of active IIS promotes germline proliferation and eventually induces tumor-like germline growth. In summary, our results suggest a novel pathway crosstalk of DAF-16 and TGF-ß/BMP that can modulate mTORC1 at the transcriptional level to cause stem-cell hyperproliferation. Such cell-type specific differences may help explaining why human FOXO activity is considered to be tumor-suppressive in most contexts, but may become oncogenic, e.g. in chronic and acute myeloid leukemia.

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<![CDATA[SMOC Binds to Pro-EGF, but Does Not Induce Erk Phosphorylation via the EGFR]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daddab0ee8fa60bbaafa

In an attempt to identify the cell-associated protein(s) through which SMOC (Secreted Modular Calcium binding protein) induces mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling, the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) became a candidate. However, although in 32D/EGFR cells, the EGFR was phosphorylated in the presence of a commercially available human SMOC-1 (hSMOC-1), only minimal phosphorylation was observed in the presence of Xenopus SMOC-1 (XSMOC-1) or human SMOC-2. Analysis of the commercial hSMOC-1 product demonstrated the presence of pro-EGF as an impurity. When the pro-EGF was removed, only minimal EGFR activation was observed, indicating that SMOC does not signal primarily through EGFR and its receptor remains unidentified. Investigation of SMOC/pro-EGF binding affinity revealed a strong interaction that does not require the C-terminal extracellular calcium-binding (EC) domain of SMOC or the EGF domain of pro-EGF. SMOC does not appear to potentiate or inhibit MAPK signaling in response to pro-EGF, but the interaction could provide a mechanism for retaining soluble pro-EGF at the cell surface.

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<![CDATA[Transcriptional Profiling of Cultured, Embryonic Epicardial Cells Identifies Novel Genes and Signaling Pathways Regulated by TGFβR3 In Vitro]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da6fab0ee8fa60b94350

The epicardium plays an important role in coronary vessel formation and Tgfbr3-/- mice exhibit failed coronary vessel development associated with decreased epicardial cell invasion. Immortalized Tgfbr3-/- epicardial cells display the same defects. Tgfbr3+/+ and Tgfbr3-/- cells incubated for 72 hours with VEH or ligands known to promote invasion via TGFβR3 (TGFβ1, TGFβ2, BMP2), for 72 hours were harvested for RNA-seq analysis. We selected for genes >2-fold differentially expressed between Tgfbr3+/+ and Tgfbr3-/- cells when incubated with VEH (604), TGFβ1 (515), TGFβ2 (553), or BMP2 (632). Gene Ontology (GO) analysis of these genes identified dysregulated biological processes consistent with the defects observed in Tgfbr3-/- cells, including those associated with extracellular matrix interaction. GO and Gene Regulatory Network (GRN) analysis identified distinct expression profiles between TGFβ1-TGFβ2 and VEH-BMP2 incubated cells, consistent with the differential response of epicardial cells to these ligands in vitro. Despite the differences observed between Tgfbr3+/+ and Tgfbr3-/- cells after TGFβ and BMP ligand addition, GRNs constructed from these gene lists identified NF-ĸB as a key nodal point for all ligands examined. Tgfbr3-/- cells exhibited decreased expression of genes known to be activated by NF-ĸB signaling. NF-ĸB activity was stimulated in Tgfbr3+/+ epicardial cells after TGFβ2 or BMP2 incubation, while Tgfbr3-/- cells failed to activate NF-ĸB in response to these ligands. Tgfbr3+/+ epicardial cells incubated with an inhibitor of NF-ĸB signaling no longer invaded into a collagen gel in response to TGFβ2 or BMP2. These data suggest that NF-ĸB signaling is dysregulated in Tgfbr3-/- epicardial cells and that NF-ĸB signaling is required for epicardial cell invasion in vitro. Our approach successfully identified a signaling pathway important in epicardial cell behavior downstream of TGFβR3. Overall, the genes and signaling pathways identified through our analysis yield the first comprehensive list of candidate genes whose expression is dependent on TGFβR3 signaling.

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<![CDATA[Extracellular calcium promotes bone formation from bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells by amplifying the effects of BMP-2 on SMAD signalling]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5cab0ee8fa60be0010

Understanding the molecular events that regulate osteoblast differentiation is essential for the development of effective approaches to bone regeneration. In this study, we analysed the osteoinductive properties of extracellular calcium in bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cell (BM-MSC) differentiation. We cultured BM-MSCs in 3D gelatin scaffolds with Ca2+ and BMP-2 as osteoinductive agents. Early and late osteogenic gene expression and bone regeneration in a calvarial critical-size defect model demonstrate that extracellular Ca2+ enhances the effects of BMP-2 on Osteocalcin, Runx2 and Osterix expression and promotes bone regeneration in vivo. Moreover, we analysed the molecular mechanisms involved and observed an antagonistic effect between Ca2+ and BMP-2 on SMAD1/5, ERK and S6K signalling after 24 hours. More importantly, a cooperative effect between Ca2+ and BMP-2 on the phosphorylation of SMAD1/5, S6, GSK3 and total levels of β-CATENIN was observed at a later differentiation time (10 days). Furthermore, Ca2+ alone favoured the phosphorylation of SMAD1, which correlates with the induction of Bmp2 and Bmp4 gene expression. These data suggest that Ca2+ and BMP-2 cooperate and promote an autocrine/paracrine osteogenic feed-forward loop. On the whole, these results demonstrate the usefulness of calcium-based bone grafts or the addition of exogenous Ca2+ in bone tissue engineering.

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<![CDATA[A Novel, Noncanonical BMP Pathway Modulates Synapse Maturation at the Drosophila Neuromuscular Junction]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dab3ab0ee8fa60bac104

At the Drosophila NMJ, BMP signaling is critical for synapse growth and homeostasis. Signaling by the BMP7 homolog, Gbb, in motor neurons triggers a canonical pathway—which modulates transcription of BMP target genes, and a noncanonical pathway—which connects local BMP/BMP receptor complexes with the cytoskeleton. Here we describe a novel noncanonical BMP pathway characterized by the accumulation of the pathway effector, the phosphorylated Smad (pMad), at synaptic sites. Using genetic epistasis, histology, super resolution microscopy, and electrophysiology approaches we demonstrate that this novel pathway is genetically distinguishable from all other known BMP signaling cascades. This novel pathway does not require Gbb, but depends on presynaptic BMP receptors and specific postsynaptic glutamate receptor subtypes, the type-A receptors. Synaptic pMad is coordinated to BMP’s role in the transcriptional control of target genes by shared pathway components, but it has no role in the regulation of NMJ growth. Instead, selective disruption of presynaptic pMad accumulation reduces the postsynaptic levels of type-A receptors, revealing a positive feedback loop which appears to function to stabilize active type-A receptors at synaptic sites. Thus, BMP pathway may monitor synapse activity then function to adjust synapse growth and maturation during development.

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