ResearchPad - morphogenesis https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Ultrasound prediction of Zika virus-associated congenital injury using the profile of fetal growth]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13878 Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-transmitted flavivirus, recently linked to microcephaly and central nervous system anomalies following infection in pregnancy. Striking findings of disproportionate growth with a smaller than expected head relative to body length have been observed more commonly among fetuses with exposure to ZIKV in utero compared to pregnancies without ZIKV infection regardless of other signs of congenital infection including microcephaly. This study’s objective was to determine the diagnostic accuracy of femur-sparing profile of intrauterine growth restriction for the identification of ZIKV-associated congenital injuries on postnatal testing. A retrospective cohort study of pregnant women with possible or confirmed ZIKV infection between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2017 were included. Subjects were excluded if no prenatal ultrasound was available. A femur-sparing profile of growth restriction determined using INTERGROWTH-21st sonographic standard for head circumference to femur length (HC: FL). Congenital injuries were determined postnatally by imaging, comprehensive eye exam and standard newborn hearing screen. A total of 111 pregnant women diagnosed with ZIKV infection underwent fetal ultrasound and 95 neonates had complete postnatal evaluation. Prenatal microcephaly was detected in 5% of fetuses (6/111). Postnatal testing detected ZIKV-associated congenital injuries in 25% of neonates (24/95). A HC: FL Z-score ≤ -1.3 had a 52% specificity (95% CI 41–63%), 82% negative predictive value (NPV, 95% CI 73–88%) for the detection of ZIKV-associated congenital injuries in the neonatal period. A more stringent threshold with a Z-score ≤ -2 was associated with a 90% specificity (95% CI 81–95%), 81% NPV (95% CI 77–85%). Excluding cases of fetal microcephaly, HC: FL (Z-score ≤ -2) demonstrated a similar specificity (89%, 95% CI 81–95%) with superior NPV (87%, 95% CI 84–90%). The sonographic recognition of a normally proportioned fetus may be useful prenatally to exclude a wider spectrum of ZIKV-associated congenital injuries detected postnatally.

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<![CDATA[Active Notch signaling is required for arm regeneration in a brittle star]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7845 Cell signaling pathways play key roles in coordinating cellular events in development. The Notch signaling pathway is highly conserved across all multicellular animals and is known to coordinate a multitude of diverse cellular events, including proliferation, differentiation, fate specification, and cell death. Specific functions of the pathway are, however, highly context-dependent and are not well characterized in post-traumatic regeneration. Here, we use a small-molecule inhibitor of the pathway (DAPT) to demonstrate that Notch signaling is required for proper arm regeneration in the brittle star Ophioderma brevispina, a highly regenerative member of the phylum Echinodermata. We also employ a transcriptome-wide gene expression analysis (RNA-seq) to characterize the downstream genes controlled by the Notch pathway in the brittle star regeneration. We demonstrate that arm regeneration involves an extensive cross-talk between the Notch pathway and other cell signaling pathways. In the regrowing arm, Notch regulates the composition of the extracellular matrix, cell migration, proliferation, and apoptosis, as well as components of the innate immune response. We also show for the first time that Notch signaling regulates the activity of several transposable elements. Our data also suggests that one of the possible mechanisms through which Notch sustains its activity in the regenerating tissues is via suppression of Neuralized1.

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<![CDATA[New estimates of the Zika virus epidemic attack rate in Northeastern Brazil from 2015 to 2016: A modelling analysis based on Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) surveillance data]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7754 The mandatory reporting of the Zika virus (ZIKV) disease began region-wide in February 2016, and it is believed that ZIKV cases could have been highly under-reported before that. Given the Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is relatively well reported, the GBS surveillance data has the potential to act as a reasonably reliable proxy for inferring the true ZIKV epidemics. We developed a mathematical model incorporating weather effects to study the ZIKV-GBS epidemics and estimated the key epidemiological parameters. It was found that the attack rate of ZIKV was likely to be lower than 33% over the two epidemic waves. The risk rate from symptomatic ZIKV case to develop GBS was estimated to be approximately 0.0061%. The analysis suggests that it would be difficult for another ZIKV outbreak to appear in Northeastern Brazil in the near future.

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<![CDATA[Micro-RNA signatures in monozygotic twins discordant for congenital heart defects]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N5a7c737e-22cf-4de0-b5e8-861cb3f8f58f

Background

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small RNAs regulating gene expression post-transcriptionally. Recent studies demonstrated that miRNAs are involved in the development of congenital heart defects (CHD). In this study, we aimed at identifying the specific patterns of miRNAs in blood of monozygotic twin pairs discordant for CHD and to assess whether miRNAs might be involved in the development or reflect the consequences of CHD.

Methods

miRNA microarray analysis and Real-Time Quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) were employed to determine the miRNA abundance level from 12 monozygotic twins discordant for CHD and their non-CHD co-twins (n = 12). Enrichment analyses of altered miRNAs were performed using bioinformatics tools.

Results

Compared with non-CHD co-twins, profiling analysis indicated 34 miRNAs with a significant difference in abundance level (p<0.05, fold change ≥ 1.3), of which 11 miRNAs were up-regulated and 23 miRNAs were down-regulated. Seven miRNAs were validated with RT-qPCR including miR-511-3p, miR-1306-5p, miR-421, miR-4707-3p, miR-4732-3p, miR-5189-3p, and miR-890, and the results were consistent with microarray analysis. Five miRNAs namely miR-511-3p, miR-1306-5p, miR-4732-3p, miR-5189-3p, and miR-890 were found to be significantly up-regulated in twins < 10 years old. Bioinformatics analysis showed that the 7 validated miRNAs were involved in phosphatidylinositol signaling, gap junction signaling, and adrenergic signaling in cardiomyocytes.

Conclusions

Our data show deregulated miRNA abundance levels in the peripheral blood of monozygotic twins discordant for CHD, and identify new candidates for further analysis, which may contribute to understanding the development of CHD in the future. Bioinformatics analysis indicated that the target genes of these miRNAs are likely involved in signaling and communication of cardiomyocytes.

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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[The association between Zika virus infection and microcephaly in Brazil 2015–2017: An observational analysis of over 4 million births]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c882414d5eed0c484639707

Background

In 2015, high rates of microcephaly were reported in Northeast Brazil following the first South American Zika virus (ZIKV) outbreak. Reported microcephaly rates in other Zika-affected areas were significantly lower, suggesting alternate causes or the involvement of arboviral cofactors in exacerbating microcephaly rates.

Methods and findings

We merged data from multiple national reporting databases in Brazil to estimate exposure to 9 known or hypothesized causes of microcephaly for every pregnancy nationwide since the beginning of the ZIKV outbreak; this generated between 3.6 and 5.4 million cases (depending on analysis) over the time period 1 January 2015–23 May 2017. The association between ZIKV and microcephaly was statistically tested against models with alternative causes or with effect modifiers. We found no evidence for alternative non-ZIKV causes of the 2015–2017 microcephaly outbreak, nor that concurrent exposure to arbovirus infection or vaccination modified risk. We estimate an absolute risk of microcephaly of 40.8 (95% CI 34.2–49.3) per 10,000 births and a relative risk of 16.8 (95% CI 3.2–369.1) given ZIKV infection in the first or second trimester of pregnancy; however, because ZIKV infection rates were highly variable, most pregnant women in Brazil during the ZIKV outbreak will have been subject to lower risk levels. Statistically significant associations of ZIKV with other birth defects were also detected, but at lower relative risks than that of microcephaly (relative risk < 1.5). Our analysis was limited by missing data prior to the establishment of nationwide ZIKV surveillance, and its findings may be affected by unmeasured confounding causes of microcephaly not available in routinely collected surveillance data.

Conclusions

This study strengthens the evidence that congenital ZIKV infection, particularly in the first 2 trimesters of pregnancy, is associated with microcephaly and less frequently with other birth defects. The finding of no alternative causes for geographic differences in microcephaly rate leads us to hypothesize that the Northeast region was disproportionately affected by this Zika outbreak, with 94% of an estimated 8.5 million total cases occurring in this region, suggesting a need for seroprevalence surveys to determine the underlying reason.

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<![CDATA[Temperature preference of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) juveniles induces spontaneous sex reversal]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6f14fcd5eed0c48467ac14

Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) is an African freshwater fish that displays a genetic sex determination system (XX|XY) where high temperatures (above 32°C to 36.5°C) induce masculinization. In Nile tilapia, the thermosensitive period was reported from 10 to 30 days post fertilization. In their natural environment, juveniles may encounter high temperatures that are above the optimal temperature for growth (27–30°C). The relevance of the thermal sex reversal mechanism in a natural context remains unclear. The main objective of our study is to determine whether sexually undifferentiated juveniles spontaneously prefer higher, unfavorable temperatures and whether this choice skews the sex ratio toward males. Five full-sib progenies (from 100% XX crosses) were subjected to (1) a horizontal three-compartment thermal step gradient (thermal continuum 28°C– 32°C– 36.5°C) during the thermosensitive period, (2) a control continuum (28°C– 28°C– 28°C) and (3) a thermal control tank (36.5°C). During the first days of the treatment, up to an average of 20% of the population preferred the masculinizing compartment of the thermal continuum (36.5°C) compared to the control continuum. During the second part of the treatment, juveniles preferred the lower, nonmasculinizing 32°C temperature. This short exposure to higher temperatures was sufficient to significantly skew the sex ratio toward males, compared to congeners raised at 28°C (from 5.0 ± 6.7% to 15.6 ± 16.5% of males). The proportion of males was significantly different in the thermal continuum, thermal control tank and control continuum, and it was positively correlated among populations. Our study shows for the first time that Nile tilapia juveniles can choose a masculinizing temperature during a short period of time. This preference is sufficient to induce sex reversal to males within a population. For the first time, behavior is reported as a potential player in the sex determination mechanism of this species.

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<![CDATA[Sexual dimorphism of acute doxorubicin-induced nephrotoxicity in C57Bl/6 mice]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c76fe23d5eed0c484e5b5ad

Doxorubicin (DOX) is a chemotherapeutic agent that has been reported to cause nephrotoxicity in rodent models and to a lesser degree in cancer patients. Female rodents have been shown to be protected against several features of DOX-induced nephrotoxicity. Nevertheless, the underlying mechanisms of this sexual dimorphism are not fully elucidated. Therefore, in the current study, we investigated the sex and time-dependent changes in pathological lesions as well as apoptotic and fibrotic markers in response to acute DOX-induced nephrotoxicity. We also determined the effect of acute DOX treatment on the renal expression of the sexually dimorphic enzyme, soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH), since inhibition of sEH has been shown to protect against DOX-induced nephrotoxicity. Acute DOX-induced nephrotoxicity was induced by a single intra-peritoneal injection of 20 mg/kg DOX to male and female adult C57Bl/6 mice. The kidneys were isolated 1, 3 and 6 days after DOX administration. Histopathology assessment, gene expression of the apoptotic marker, BAX, protein expression of the fibrotic marker, transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β), and gene and protein expression of sEH were assessed. DOX administration caused more severe pathological lesions as well as higher induction of the apoptotic and fibrotic markers in kidneys of male than in female mice. Intriguingly, DOX inhibited sEH protein expression in kidneys of male mice sacrificed at 3 and 6 days following administration, suggesting that induction of sEH is not necessary for acute DOX-induced nephrotoxicity. However, DOX-induced inhibition of renal sEH in male mice may protect the kidney from further DOX-induced injury in a negative feedback mechanism. We also observed lower constitutive expressions of TGF-β and sEH in the kidney of female mice which may contribute, at least in part, to sexual dimorphism of DOX-induced nephrotoxicity.

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<![CDATA[Nr2f-dependent allocation of ventricular cardiomyocyte and pharyngeal muscle progenitors]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c63393fd5eed0c484ae6300

Multiple syndromes share congenital heart and craniofacial muscle defects, indicating there is an intimate relationship between the adjacent cardiac and pharyngeal muscle (PM) progenitor fields. However, mechanisms that direct antagonistic lineage decisions of the cardiac and PM progenitors within the anterior mesoderm of vertebrates are not understood. Here, we identify that retinoic acid (RA) signaling directly promotes the expression of the transcription factor Nr2f1a within the anterior lateral plate mesoderm. Using zebrafish nr2f1a and nr2f2 mutants, we find that Nr2f1a and Nr2f2 have redundant requirements restricting ventricular cardiomyocyte (CM) number and promoting development of the posterior PMs. Cre-mediated genetic lineage tracing in nr2f1a; nr2f2 double mutants reveals that tcf21+ progenitor cells, which can give rise to ventricular CMs and PM, more frequently become ventricular CMs potentially at the expense of posterior PMs in nr2f1a; nr2f2 mutants. Our studies reveal insights into the molecular etiology that may underlie developmental syndromes that share heart, neck and facial defects as well as the phenotypic variability of congenital heart defects associated with NR2F mutations in humans.

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<![CDATA[Minimal force transmission between human thumb and index finger muscles under passive conditions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c706784d5eed0c4847c7163

It has been hypothesized that force can be transmitted between adjacent muscles. Intermuscle force transmission violates the assumption that muscles act in mechanical isolation, and implies that predictions from biomechanical models are in error due to mechanical interactions between muscles, but the functional relevance of intermuscle force transmission is unclear. To investigate intermuscle force transmission between human flexor pollicis longus and the index finger part of flexor digitorum profundus, we compared finger flexion force produced by passive thumb flexion after one of three conditioning protocols: passive thumb flexion-extension cycling, thumb flexion maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), and thumb extension stretch. Finger flexion force increased after all three conditions. Compared to passive thumb flexion-extension cycling, change in finger flexion force was less after thumb extension stretch (mean difference 0.028 N, 95% CI 0.005 to 0.051 N), but not after thumb flexion MVC (0.007 N, 95% CI -0.020 to 0.033 N). As muscle conditioning changed finger flexion force produced by passive thumb flexion, the change in force is likely due to intermuscle force transmission. Thus, intermuscle force transmission resulting from passive stretch of an adjacent muscle is probably small enough to be ignored.

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<![CDATA[Modeling Edar expression reveals the hidden dynamics of tooth signaling center patterning]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c65dcd2d5eed0c484dec2fa

When patterns are set during embryogenesis, it is expected that they are straightly established rather than subsequently modified. The patterning of the three mouse molars is, however, far from straight, likely as a result of mouse evolutionary history. The first-formed tooth signaling centers, called MS and R2, disappear before driving tooth formation and are thought to be vestiges of the premolars found in mouse ancestors. Moreover, the mature signaling center of the first molar (M1) is formed from the fusion of two signaling centers (R2 and early M1). Here, we report that broad activation of Edar expression precedes its spatial restriction to tooth signaling centers. This reveals a hidden two-step patterning process for tooth signaling centers, which was modeled with a single activator–inhibitor pair subject to reaction–diffusion (RD). The study of Edar expression also unveiled successive phases of signaling center formation, erasing, recovering, and fusion. Our model, in which R2 signaling center is not intrinsically defective but erased by the broad activation preceding M1 signaling center formation, predicted the surprising rescue of R2 in Edar mutant mice, where activation is reduced. The importance of this R2–M1 interaction was confirmed by ex vivo cultures showing that R2 is capable of forming a tooth. Finally, by introducing chemotaxis as a secondary process to RD, we recapitulated in silico different conditions in which R2 and M1 centers fuse or not. In conclusion, pattern formation in the mouse molar field relies on basic mechanisms whose dynamics produce embryonic patterns that are plastic objects rather than fixed end points.

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<![CDATA[Early girl is a novel component of the Fat signaling pathway]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b52c2d5eed0c4842bcfaa

The Drosophila protocadherins Dachsous and Fat regulate growth and tissue polarity by modulating the levels, membrane localization and polarity of the atypical myosin Dachs. Localization to the apical junctional membrane is critical for Dachs function, and the adapter protein Vamana/Dlish and palmitoyl transferase Approximated are required for Dachs membrane localization. However, how Dachs levels are regulated is poorly understood. Here we identify the early girl gene as playing an essential role in Fat signaling by limiting the levels of Dachs protein. early girl mutants display overgrowth of the wings and reduced cross vein spacing, hallmark features of mutations affecting Fat signaling. Genetic experiments reveal that it functions in parallel with Fat to regulate Dachs. early girl encodes an E3 ubiquitin ligase, physically interacts with Dachs, and regulates its protein stability. Concomitant loss of early girl and approximated results in accumulation of Dachs and Vamana in cytoplasmic punctae, suggesting that it also regulates their trafficking to the apical membrane. Our findings establish a crucial role for early girl in Fat signaling, involving regulation of Dachs and Vamana, two key downstream effectors of this pathway.

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<![CDATA[Mechanisms underpinning the permanent muscle damage induced by snake venom metalloprotease]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c59febed5eed0c484135375

Snakebite is a major neglected tropical health issue that affects over 5 million people worldwide resulting in around 1.8 million envenomations and 100,000 deaths each year. Snakebite envenomation also causes innumerable morbidities, specifically loss of limbs as a result of excessive tissue/muscle damage. Snake venom metalloproteases (SVMPs) are a predominant component of viper venoms, and are involved in the degradation of basement membrane proteins (particularly collagen) surrounding the tissues around the bite site. Although their collagenolytic properties have been established, the molecular mechanisms through which SVMPs induce permanent muscle damage are poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate the purification and characterisation of an SVMP from a viper (Crotalus atrox) venom. Mass spectrometry analysis confirmed that this protein is most likely to be a group III metalloprotease (showing high similarity to VAP2A) and has been referred to as CAMP (Crotalus atrox metalloprotease). CAMP displays both collagenolytic and fibrinogenolytic activities and inhibits CRP-XL-induced platelet aggregation. To determine its effects on muscle damage, CAMP was administered into the tibialis anterior muscle of mice and its actions were compared with cardiotoxin I (a three-finger toxin) from an elapid snake (Naja pallida) venom. Extensive immunohistochemistry analyses revealed that CAMP significantly damages skeletal muscles by attacking the collagen scaffold and other important basement membrane proteins, and prevents their regeneration through disrupting the functions of satellite cells. In contrast, cardiotoxin I destroys skeletal muscle by damaging the plasma membrane, but does not impact regeneration due to its inability to affect the extracellular matrix. Overall, this study provides novel insights into the mechanisms through which SVMPs induce permanent muscle damage.

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<![CDATA[Identification of qPCR reference genes suitable for normalizing gene expression in the mdx mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b525fd5eed0c4842bc6fe

The mdx mouse is the most widely-used animal model of the human disease Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and quantitative PCR analysis of gene expression in the muscles of this animal plays a key role in the study of pathogenesis and disease progression and in evaluation of potential therapeutic interventions. Normalization to appropriate stably-expressed reference genes is essential for accurate quantitative measurement, but determination of such genes is challenging: healthy and dystrophic muscles present very different transcriptional environments, further altering with disease progression and muscle use, raising the possibility that no single gene or combination of genes may be stable under all experimental comparative scenarios. Despite the pedigree of this animal model, this problem remains unaddressed. The aim of this work was therefore to comprehensively assess reference gene suitability in the muscles of healthy and dystrophic mice, identifying reference genes appropriate for specific experimental comparisons, and determining whether an essentially universally-applicable set of genes exists. Using a large sample collection comprising multiple muscles (including the tibialis anterior, diaphragm and heart muscles) taken from healthy and mdx mice at three disease-relevant ages, and a panel of sixteen candidate reference genes (FBXO38, FBXW2, MON2, ZFP91, HTATSF1, GAPDH, ACTB, 18S, CDC40, SDHA, RPL13a, CSNK2A2, AP3D1, PAK1IP1, B2M and HPRT1), we used the geNorm, BestKeeper and Normfinder algorithms to identify genes that were stable under multiple possible comparative scenarios. We reveal that no single gene is stable under all conditions, but a normalization factor derived from multiple genes (RPL13a, CSNK2A2, AP3D1 and the widely-used ACTB) appears suitable for normalizing gene expression in both healthy and dystrophic mouse muscle regardless of muscle type or animal age. We further show that other popular reference genes, including GAPDH, are markedly disease- or muscle-type correlated. This study demonstrates the importance of empirical reference gene identification, and should serve as a valuable resource for investigators wishing to study gene expression in mdx mice.

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<![CDATA[Characterization of a novel microRNA, miR-188, elevated in serum of muscular dystrophy dog model]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b525dd5eed0c4842bc6ee

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are non-coding small RNAs that regulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. Several miRNAs are exclusively expressed in skeletal muscle and participate in the regulation of muscle differentiation by interacting with myogenic factors. These miRNAs can be found at high levels in the serum of patients and animal models for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which is expected to be useful as biomarkers for their clinical conditions. By miRNA microarray analysis, we identified miR-188 as a novel miRNA that is elevated in the serum of the muscular dystrophy dog model, CXMDJ. miR-188 was not muscle-specific miRNA, but its expression was up-regulated in skeletal muscles associated with muscle regeneration induced by cardiotoxin-injection in normal dogs and mice. Manipulation of miR-188 expression using antisense oligo and mimic oligo RNAs alters the mRNA expression of the myogenic regulatory factors, MRF4 and MEF2C. Our results suggest that miR-188 is a new player that participates in the gene regulation process of muscle differentiation and that it may serve as a serum biomarker reflecting skeletal muscle regeneration.

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<![CDATA[Ask1 and Akt act synergistically to promote ROS-dependent regeneration in Drosophila]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c536ae2d5eed0c484a47ab5

How cells communicate to initiate a regenerative response after damage has captivated scientists during the last few decades. It is known that one of the main signals emanating from injured cells is the Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), which propagate to the surrounding tissue to trigger the replacement of the missing cells. However, the link between ROS production and the activation of regenerative signaling pathways is not yet fully understood. We describe here the non-autonomous ROS sensing mechanism by which living cells launch their regenerative program. To this aim, we used Drosophila imaginal discs as a model system due to its well-characterized regenerative ability after injury or cell death. We genetically-induced cell death and found that the Apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (Ask1) is essential for regenerative growth. Ask1 senses ROS both in dying and living cells, but its activation is selectively attenuated in living cells by Akt1, the core kinase component of the insulin/insulin-like growth factor pathway. Akt1 phosphorylates Ask1 in a secondary site outside the kinase domain, which attenuates its activity. This modulation of Ask1 activity results in moderate levels of JNK signaling in the living tissue, as well as in activation of p38 signaling, both pathways required to turn on the regenerative response. Our findings demonstrate a non-autonomous activation of a ROS sensing mechanism by Ask1 and Akt1 to replace the missing tissue after damage. Collectively, these results provide the basis for understanding the molecular mechanism of communication between dying and living cells that triggers regeneration.

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<![CDATA[Dissecting the pathways coordinating patterning and growth by plant boundary domains]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c536af0d5eed0c484a47c21

Boundary domains play important roles during morphogenesis in plants and animals, but how they contribute to patterning and growth coordination in plants is not understood. The CUC genes determine the boundary domains in the aerial part of the plants and, in particular, they have a conserved role in regulating leaf complexity across Angiosperms. Here, we used tooth formation at the Arabidopsis leaf margin controlled by the CUC2 transcription factor to untangle intertwined events during boundary-controlled morphogenesis in plants. Combining conditional restoration of CUC2 function with morphometrics as well as quantification of gene expression and hormone signaling, we first established that tooth morphogenesis involves a patterning phase and a growth phase. These phases can be separated, as patterning requires CUC2 while growth can occur independently of CUC2. Next, we show that CUC2 acts as a trigger to promote growth through the activation of three functional relays. In particular, we show that KLUH acts downstream of CUC2 to modulate auxin response and that expressing KLUH can compensate for deficient CUC2 expression during tooth growth. Together, we reveal a genetic and molecular network that allows coordination of patterning and growth by CUC2-defined boundaries during morphogenesis at the leaf margin.

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<![CDATA[Noise-resistant developmental reproducibility in vertebrate somite formation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c61e8e7d5eed0c48496f391

The reproducibility of embryonic development is remarkable, although molecular processes are intrinsically stochastic at the single-cell level. How the multicellular system resists the inevitable noise to acquire developmental reproducibility constitutes a fundamental question in developmental biology. Toward this end, we focused on vertebrate somitogenesis as a representative system, because somites are repeatedly reproduced within a single embryo whereas such reproducibility is lost in segmentation clock gene-deficient embryos. However, the effect of noise on developmental reproducibility has not been fully investigated, because of the technical difficulty in manipulating the noise intensity in experiments. In this study, we developed a computational model of ERK-mediated somitogenesis, in which bistable ERK activity is regulated by an FGF gradient, cell-cell communication, and the segmentation clock, subject to the intrinsic noise. The model simulation generated our previous in vivo observation that the ERK activity was distributed in a step-like gradient in the presomitic mesoderm, and its boundary was posteriorly shifted by the clock in a stepwise manner, leading to regular somite formation. Here, we showed that this somite regularity was robustly maintained against the noise. Removing the clock from the model predicted that the stepwise shift of the ERK activity occurs at irregular timing with irregular distance owing to the noise, resulting in somite size variation. This model prediction was recently confirmed by live imaging of ERK activity in zebrafish embryos. Through theoretical analysis, we presented a mechanism by which the clock reduces the inherent somite irregularity observed in clock-deficient embryos. Therefore, this study indicates a novel role of the segmentation clock in noise-resistant developmental reproducibility.

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<![CDATA[Threshold response to stochasticity in morphogenesis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b52e0d5eed0c4842bd1b9

During development of biological organisms, multiple complex structures are formed. In many instances, these structures need to exhibit a high degree of order to be functional, although many of their constituents are intrinsically stochastic. Hence, it has been suggested that biological robustness ultimately must rely on complex gene regulatory networks and clean-up mechanisms. Here we explore developmental processes that have evolved inherent robustness against stochasticity. In the context of the Drosophila eye disc, multiple optical units, ommatidia, develop into crystal-like patterns. During the larva-to-pupa stage of metamorphosis, the centers of the ommatidia are specified initially through the diffusion of morphogens, followed by the specification of R8 cells. Establishing the R8 cell is crucial in setting up the geometric, and functional, relationships of cells within an ommatidium and among neighboring ommatidia. Here we study an PDE mathematical model of these spatio-temporal processes in the presence of parametric stochasticity, defining and applying measures that quantify order within the resulting spatial patterns. We observe a universal sigmoidal response to increasing transcriptional noise. Ordered patterns persist up to a threshold noise level in the model parameters. In accordance with prior qualitative observations, as the noise is further increased past a threshold point of no return, these ordered patterns rapidly become disordered. Such robustness in development allows for the accumulation of genetic variation without any observable changes in phenotype. We argue that the observed sigmoidal dependence introduces robustness allowing for sizable amounts of genetic variation and transcriptional noise to be tolerated in natural populations without resulting in phenotype variation.

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<![CDATA[Regenerative capacity in the lamprey spinal cord is not altered after a repeated transection]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b52bbd5eed0c4842bcf38

The resilience of regeneration in vertebrates is not very well understood. Yet understanding if tissues can regenerate after repeated insults, and identifying limitations, is important for elucidating the underlying mechanisms of tissue plasticity. This is particularly challenging in tissues, such as the nervous system, which possess a large number of terminally differentiated cells and often exhibit limited regeneration in the first place. However, unlike mammals, which exhibit very limited regeneration of spinal cord tissues, many non-mammalian vertebrates, including lampreys, bony fishes, amphibians, and reptiles, regenerate their spinal cords and functionally recover even after a complete spinal cord transection. It is well established that lampreys undergo full functional recovery of swimming behaviors after a single spinal cord transection, which is accompanied by tissue repair at the lesion site, as well as axon and synapse regeneration. Here we begin to explore the resilience of spinal cord regeneration in lampreys after a second spinal transection (re-transection). We report that by all functional and anatomical measures tested, lampreys regenerate after spinal re-transection just as robustly as after single transections. Recovery of swimming, synapse and cytoskeletal distributions, axon regeneration, and neuronal survival were nearly identical after spinal transection or re-transection. Only minor differences in tissue repair at the lesion site were observed in re-transected spinal cords. Thus, regenerative potential in the lamprey spinal cord is largely unaffected by spinal re-transection, indicating a greater persistent regenerative potential than exists in some other highly regenerative models. These findings establish a new path for uncovering pro-regenerative targets that could be deployed in non-regenerative conditions.

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