ResearchPad - neural-crest https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Pulmonary ductal coarctation and left pulmonary artery interruption; pathology and role of neural crest and second heart field during development]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14709 In congenital heart malformations with pulmonary stenosis to atresia an abnormal lateral ductus arteriosus to left pulmonary artery connection can lead to a localised narrowing (pulmonary ductal coarctation) or even interruption We investigated embryonic remodelling and pathogenesis of this area.Material and methodsNormal development was studied in WntCre reporter mice (E10.0–12.5) for neural crest cells and Nkx2.5 immunostaining for second heart field cells. Data were compared to stage matched human embryos and a VEGF120/120 mutant mouse strain developing pulmonary atresia.ResultsNormal mouse and human embryos showed that the mid-pharyngeal endothelial plexus, connected side-ways to the 6th pharyngeal arch artery. The ventral segment formed the proximal pulmonary artery. The dorsal segment (future DA) was solely surrounded by neural crest cells. The ventral segment had a dual outer lining with neural crest and second heart field cells, while the distal pulmonary artery was covered by none of these cells. The asymmetric contribution of second heart field to the future pulmonary trunk on the left side of the aortic sac (so-called pulmonary push) was evident. The ventral segment became incorporated into the pulmonary trunk leading to a separate connection of the left and right pulmonary arteries. The VEGF120/120 embryos showed a stunted pulmonary push and a variety of vascular anomalies.SummarySide-way connection of the DA to the left pulmonary artery is a congenital anomaly. The primary problem is a stunted development of the pulmonary push leading to pulmonary stenosis/atresia and a subsequent lack of proper incorporation of the ventral segment into the aortic sac. Clinically, the aberrant smooth muscle tissue of the ductus arteriosus should be addressed to prohibit development of severe pulmonary ductal coarctation or even interruption of the left pulmonary artery. ]]> <![CDATA[Endothelin receptor Aa regulates proliferation and differentiation of Erb-dependent pigment progenitors in zebrafish]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c803c68d5eed0c484ad88f6

Skin pigment patterns are important, being under strong selection for multiple roles including camouflage and UV protection. Pigment cells underlying these patterns form from adult pigment stem cells (APSCs). In zebrafish, APSCs derive from embryonic neural crest cells, but sit dormant until activated to produce pigment cells during metamorphosis. The APSCs are set-aside in an ErbB signaling dependent manner, but the mechanism maintaining quiescence until metamorphosis remains unknown. Mutants for a pigment pattern gene, parade, exhibit ectopic pigment cells localised to the ventral trunk, but also supernumerary cells restricted to the Ventral Stripe. Contrary to expectations, these melanocytes and iridophores are discrete cells, but closely apposed. We show that parade encodes Endothelin receptor Aa, expressed in the blood vessels, most prominently in the medial blood vessels, consistent with the ventral trunk phenotype. We provide evidence that neuronal fates are not affected in parade mutants, arguing against transdifferentiation of sympathetic neurons to pigment cells. We show that inhibition of BMP signaling prevents specification of sympathetic neurons, indicating conservation of this molecular mechanism with chick and mouse. However, inhibition of sympathetic neuron differentiation does not enhance the parade phenotype. Instead, we pinpoint ventral trunk-restricted proliferation of neural crest cells as an early feature of the parade phenotype. Importantly, using a chemical genetic screen for rescue of the ectopic pigment cell phenotype of parade mutants (whilst leaving the embryonic pattern untouched), we identify ErbB inhibitors as a key hit. The time-window of sensitivity to these inhibitors mirrors precisely the window defined previously as crucial for the setting aside of APSCs in the embryo, strongly implicating adult pigment stem cells as the source of the ectopic pigment cells. We propose that a novel population of APSCs exists in association with medial blood vessels, and that their quiescence is dependent upon Endothelin-dependent factors expressed by the blood vessels.

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<![CDATA[A tissue-specific role for intraflagellar transport genes during craniofacial development]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db53ab0ee8fa60bdca19

Primary cilia are nearly ubiquitous, cellular projections that function to transduce molecular signals during development. Loss of functional primary cilia has a particularly profound effect on the developing craniofacial complex, causing several anomalies including craniosynostosis, micrognathia, midfacial dysplasia, cleft lip/palate and oral/dental defects. Development of the craniofacial complex is an intricate process that requires interactions between several different tissues including neural crest cells, neuroectoderm and surface ectoderm. To understand the tissue-specific requirements for primary cilia during craniofacial development we conditionally deleted three separate intraflagellar transport genes, Kif3a, Ift88 and Ttc21b with three distinct drivers, Wnt1-Cre, Crect and AP2-Cre which drive recombination in neural crest, surface ectoderm alone, and neural crest, surface ectoderm and neuroectoderm, respectively. We found that tissue-specific conditional loss of ciliary genes with different functions produces profoundly different facial phenotypes. Furthermore, analysis of basic cellular behaviors in these mutants suggests that loss of primary cilia in a distinct tissue has unique effects on development of adjacent tissues. Together, these data suggest specific spatiotemporal roles for intraflagellar transport genes and the primary cilium during craniofacial development.

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<![CDATA[Dynamic Expression of Sox2, Gata3, and Prox1 during Primary Auditory Neuron Development in the Mammalian Cochlea]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db53ab0ee8fa60bdcbfd

Primary auditory neurons (PANs) connect cochlear sensory hair cells in the mammalian inner ear to cochlear nucleus neurons in the brainstem. PANs develop from neuroblasts delaminated from the proneurosensory domain of the otocyst and keep maturing until the onset of hearing after birth. There are two types of PANs: type I, which innervate the inner hair cells (IHCs), and type II, which innervate the outer hair cells (OHCs). Glial cells surrounding these neurons originate from neural crest cells and migrate to the spiral ganglion. Several transcription factors are known to regulate the development and differentiation of PANs. Here we systematically examined the spatiotemporal expression of five transcription factors: Sox2, Sox10, Gata3, Mafb, and Prox1 from early delamination at embryonic day (E) 10.5 to adult. We found that Sox2 and Sox10 were initially expressed in the proneurosensory cells in the otocyst (E10.5). By E12.75 both Sox2 and Sox10 were downregulated in the developing PANs; however, Sox2 expression transiently increased in the neurons around birth. Furthermore, both Sox2 and Sox10 continued to be expressed in spiral ganglion glial cells. We also show that Gata3 and Prox1 were first expressed in all developing neurons, followed by a decrease in expression of Gata3 and Mafb in type I PANs and Prox1 in type II PANs as they matured. Moreover, we describe two subtypes of type II neurons based on Peripherin expression. These results suggest that Sox2, Gata3 and Prox1 play a role during neurogenesis as well as maturation of the PANs.

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<![CDATA[A structural variant in the 5’-flanking region of the TWIST2 gene affects melanocyte development in belted cattle]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5fab0ee8fa60be12b5

Belted cattle have a circular belt of unpigmented hair and skin around their midsection. The belt is inherited as a monogenic autosomal dominant trait. We mapped the causative variant to a 37 kb segment on bovine chromosome 3. Whole genome sequence data of 2 belted and 130 control cattle yielded only one private genetic variant in the critical interval in the two belted animals. The belt-associated variant was a copy number variant (CNV) involving the quadruplication of a 6 kb non-coding sequence located approximately 16 kb upstream of the TWIST2 gene. Increased copy numbers at this CNV were strongly associated with the belt phenotype in a cohort of 333 cases and 1322 controls. We hypothesized that the CNV causes aberrant expression of TWIST2 during neural crest development, which might negatively affect melanoblasts. Functional studies showed that ectopic expression of bovine TWIST2 in neural crest in transgenic zebrafish led to a decrease in melanocyte numbers. Our results thus implicate an unsuspected involvement of TWIST2 in regulating pigmentation and reveal a non-coding CNV underlying a captivating Mendelian character.

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<![CDATA[Modeling Contact Inhibition of Locomotion of Colliding Cells Migrating on Micropatterned Substrates]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da41ab0ee8fa60b8a088

In cancer metastasis, embryonic development, and wound healing, cells can coordinate their motion, leading to collective motility. To characterize these cell-cell interactions, which include contact inhibition of locomotion (CIL), micropatterned substrates are often used to restrict cell migration to linear, quasi-one-dimensional paths. In these assays, collisions between polarized cells occur frequently with only a few possible outcomes, such as cells reversing direction, sticking to one another, or walking past one another. Using a computational phase field model of collective cell motility that includes the mechanics of cell shape and a minimal chemical model for CIL, we are able to reproduce all cases seen in two-cell collisions. A subtle balance between the internal cell polarization, CIL and cell-cell adhesion governs the collision outcome. We identify the parameters that control transitions between the different cases, including cell-cell adhesion, propulsion strength, and the rates of CIL. These parameters suggest hypotheses for why different cell types have different collision behavior and the effect of interventions that modulate collision outcomes. To reproduce the heterogeneity in cell-cell collision outcomes observed experimentally in neural crest cells, we must either carefully tune our parameters or assume that there is significant cell-to-cell variation in key parameters like cell-cell adhesion.

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<![CDATA[Frontal Bone Insufficiency in Gsk3β Mutant Mice]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da02ab0ee8fa60b748e2

The development of the mammalian skull is a complex process that requires multiple tissue interactions and a balance of growth and differentiation. Disrupting this balance can lead to changes in the shape and size of skull bones, which can have serious clinical implications. For example, insufficient ossification of the bony elements leads to enlarged anterior fontanelles and reduced mechanical protection of the brain. In this report, we find that loss of Gsk3β leads to a fully penetrant reduction of frontal bone size and subsequent enlarged frontal fontanelle. In the absence of Gsk3β the frontal bone primordium undergoes increased cell death and reduced proliferation with a concomitant increase in Fgfr2-IIIc and Twist1 expression. This leads to a smaller condensation and premature differentiation. This phenotype appears to be Wnt-independent and is not rescued by decreasing the genetic dose of β-catenin/Ctnnb1. Taken together, our work defines a novel role for Gsk3β in skull development.

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<![CDATA[Derivation of Corneal Keratocyte-Like Cells from Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db36ab0ee8fa60bd31f9

Corneal diseases such as keratoconus represent a relatively common disorder in the human population. However, treatment is restricted to corneal transplantation, which only occurs in the most advanced cases. Cell based therapies may offer an alternative approach given that the eye is amenable to such treatments and corneal diseases like keratoconus have been associated specifically with the death of corneal keratocytes. The ability to generate corneal keratocytes in vitro may enable a cell-based therapy to treat patients with keratoconus. Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) offer an abundant supply of cells from which any cell in the body can be derived. In the present study, hiPSCs were successfully differentiated into neural crest cells (NCCs), the embryonic precursor to keratocytes, and then cultured on cadaveric corneal tissue to promote keratocyte differentiation. The hiPSC-derived NCCs were found to migrate into the corneal stroma where they acquired a keratocyte-like morphology and an expression profile similar to corneal keratocytes in vivo. These results indicate that hiPSCs can be used to generate corneal keratocytes in vitro and lay the foundation for using these cells in cornea cell-based therapies.

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<![CDATA[BMPs Regulate msx Gene Expression in the Dorsal Neuroectoderm of Drosophila and Vertebrates by Distinct Mechanisms]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da89ab0ee8fa60b9d616

In a broad variety of bilaterian species the trunk central nervous system (CNS) derives from three primary rows of neuroblasts. The fates of these neural progenitor cells are determined in part by three conserved transcription factors: vnd/nkx2.2, ind/gsh and msh/msx in Drosophila melanogaster/vertebrates, which are expressed in corresponding non-overlapping patterns along the dorsal-ventral axis. While this conserved suite of “neural identity” gene expression strongly suggests a common ancestral origin for the patterning systems, it is unclear whether the original regulatory mechanisms establishing these patterns have been similarly conserved during evolution. In Drosophila, genetic evidence suggests that Bone Morphogenetic Proteins (BMPs) act in a dosage-dependent fashion to repress expression of neural identity genes. BMPs also play a dose-dependent role in patterning the dorsal and lateral regions of the vertebrate CNS, however, the mechanism by which they achieve such patterning has not yet been clearly established. In this report, we examine the mechanisms by which BMPs act on cis-regulatory modules (CRMs) that control localized expression of the Drosophila msh and zebrafish (Danio rerio) msxB in the dorsal central nervous system (CNS). Our analysis suggests that BMPs act differently in these organisms to regulate similar patterns of gene expression in the neuroectoderm: repressing msh expression in Drosophila, while activating msxB expression in the zebrafish. These findings suggest that the mechanisms by which the BMP gradient patterns the dorsal neuroectoderm have reversed since the divergence of these two ancient lineages.

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<![CDATA[In vivo zebrafish morphogenesis shows Cyp26b1 promotes tendon condensation and musculoskeletal patterning in the embryonic jaw]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5ab4e0b5463d7e0b99f2c8bb

Integrated development of diverse tissues gives rise to a functional, mobile vertebrate musculoskeletal system. However, the genetics and cellular interactions that drive the integration of muscle, tendon, and skeleton are poorly understood. In the vertebrate head, neural crest cells, from which cranial tendons derive, pattern developing muscles just as tendons have been shown to in limb and trunk tissue, yet the mechanisms of this patterning are unknown. From a forward genetic screen, we determined that cyp26b1 is critical for musculoskeletal integration in the ventral pharyngeal arches, particularly in the mandibulohyoid junction where first and second arch muscles interconnect. Using time-lapse confocal analyses, we detail musculoskeletal integration in wild-type and cyp26b1 mutant zebrafish. In wild-type fish, tenoblasts are present in apposition to elongating muscles and condense in discrete muscle attachment sites. In the absence of cyp26b1, tenoblasts are generated in normal numbers but fail to condense into nascent tendons within the ventral arches and, subsequently, muscles project into ectopic locales. These ectopic muscle fibers eventually associate with ectopic tendon marker expression. Genetic mosaic analysis demonstrates that neural crest cells require Cyp26b1 function for proper musculoskeletal development. Using an inhibitor, we find that Cyp26 function is required in a short time window that overlaps the dynamic window of tenoblast condensation. However, cyp26b1 expression is largely restricted to regions between tenoblast condensations during this time. Our results suggest that degradation of RA by this previously undescribed population of neural crest cells is critical to promote condensation of adjacent scxa-expressing tenoblasts and that these condensations are subsequently required for proper musculoskeletal integration.

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<![CDATA[An FGF3-BMP Signaling Axis Regulates Caudal Neural Tube Closure, Neural Crest Specification and Anterior-Posterior Axis Extension]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da32ab0ee8fa60b84c11

During vertebrate axis extension, adjacent tissue layers undergo profound morphological changes: within the neuroepithelium, neural tube closure and neural crest formation are occurring, while within the paraxial mesoderm somites are segmenting from the presomitic mesoderm (PSM). Little is known about the signals between these tissues that regulate their coordinated morphogenesis. Here, we analyze the posterior axis truncation of mouse Fgf3 null homozygotes and demonstrate that the earliest role of PSM-derived FGF3 is to regulate BMP signals in the adjacent neuroepithelium. FGF3 loss causes elevated BMP signals leading to increased neuroepithelium proliferation, delay in neural tube closure and premature neural crest specification. We demonstrate that elevated BMP4 depletes PSM progenitors in vitro, phenocopying the Fgf3 mutant, suggesting that excessive BMP signals cause the Fgf3 axis defect. To test this in vivo we increased BMP signaling in Fgf3 mutants by removing one copy of Noggin, which encodes a BMP antagonist. In such mutants, all parameters of the Fgf3 phenotype were exacerbated: neural tube closure delay, premature neural crest specification, and premature axis termination. Conversely, genetically decreasing BMP signaling in Fgf3 mutants, via loss of BMP receptor activity, alleviates morphological defects. Aberrant apoptosis is observed in the Fgf3 mutant tailbud. However, we demonstrate that cell death does not cause the Fgf3 phenotype: blocking apoptosis via deletion of pro-apoptotic genes surprisingly increases all Fgf3 defects including causing spina bifida. We demonstrate that this counterintuitive consequence of blocking apoptosis is caused by the increased survival of BMP-producing cells in the neuroepithelium. Thus, we show that FGF3 in the caudal vertebrate embryo regulates BMP signaling in the neuroepithelium, which in turn regulates neural tube closure, neural crest specification and axis termination. Uncovering this FGF3-BMP signaling axis is a major advance toward understanding how these tissue layers interact during axis extension with important implications in human disease.

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<![CDATA[Fluorescence Visualization of the Enteric Nervous Network in a Chemically Induced Aganglionosis Model]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db3bab0ee8fa60bd4dcf

Gastrointestinal motility disorders, severe variants in particular, remain a therapeutic challenge in pediatric surgery. Absence of enteric ganglion cells that originate from neural crest cells is a major cause of dysmotility. However, the limitations of currently available animal models of dysmotility continue to impede the development of new therapeutics. Indeed, the short lifespan and/or poor penetrance of existing genetic models of dysmotility prohibit the functional evaluation of promising approaches, such as stem cell replacement strategy. Here, we induced an aganglionosis model using topical benzalkonium chloride in a P0-Cre/GFP transgenic mouse in which the neural crest lineage is labeled by green fluorescence. Pathological abnormalities and functional changes in the gastrointestinal tract were evaluated 2–8 weeks after chemical injury. Laparotomy combined with fluorescence microscopy allowed direct visualization of the enteric neural network in vivo. Immunohistochemical evaluation further confirmed the irreversible disappearance of ganglion cells, glial cells, and interstitial cell of Cajal. Remaining stool weight and bead expulsion time in particular supported the pathophysiological relevance of this chemically-induced model of aganglionosis. Interestingly, we show that chemical ablation of enteric ganglion cells is associated with a long lifespan. By combining genetic labeling of neural crest derivatives and chemical ablation of enteric ganglion cells, we developed a newly customized model of aganglionosis. Our results indicate that this aganglionosis model exhibits decreased gastrointestinal motility and shows sufficient survival for functional evaluation. This model may prove useful for the development of future therapies against motility disorders.

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<![CDATA[SOX10-Nano-Lantern Reporter Human iPS Cells; A Versatile Tool for Neural Crest Research]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db54ab0ee8fa60bdcf65

The neural crest is a source to produce multipotent neural crest stem cells that have a potential to differentiate into diverse cell types. The transcription factor SOX10 is expressed through early neural crest progenitors and stem cells in vertebrates. Here we report the generation of SOX10-Nano-lantern (NL) reporter human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPS) by using CRISPR/Cas9 systems, that are beneficial to investigate the generation and maintenance of neural crest progenitor cells. SOX10-NL positive cells are produced transiently from hiPS cells by treatment with TGFβ inhibitor SB431542 and GSK3 inhibitor CHIR99021. We found that all SOX10-NL-positive cells expressed an early neural crest marker NGFR, however SOX10-NL-positive cells purified from differentiated hiPS cells progressively attenuate their NL-expression under proliferation. We therefore attempted to maintain SOX10-NL-positive cells with additional signaling on the plane and sphere culture conditions. These SOX10-NL cells provide us to investigate mass culture with neural crest cells for stem cell research.

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<![CDATA[Remission for Loss of Odontogenic Potential in a New Micromilieu In Vitro]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daf1ab0ee8fa60bc1489

During embryonic organogenesis, the odontogenic potential resides in dental mesenchyme from the bud stage until birth. Mouse dental mesenchymal cells (mDMCs) isolated from the inductive dental mesenchyme of developing molars are frequently used in the context of tooth development and regeneration. We wondered if and how the odontogenic potential could be retained when mDMCs were cultured in vitro. In the present study, we undertook to test the odontogenic potential of cultured mDMCs and attempted to maintain the potential during culturing. We found that cultured mDMCs could retain the odontogenic potential for 24 h with a ratio of 60% for tooth formation, but mDMCs were incapable of supporting tooth formation after more than 24 h in culture. This loss of odontogenic potential was accompanied by widespread transcriptomic alteration and, specifically, the downregulation of some dental mesenchyme-specific genes, such as Pax9, Msx1, and Pdgfrα. To prolong the odontogenic potential of mDMCs in vitro, we then cultured mDMCs in a serum-free medium with Knockout Serum Replacement (KSR) and growth factors (fibroblastic growth factor 2 and epidermal growth factor). In this new micromilieu, mDMCs could maintain the odontogenic potential for 48 h with tooth formation ratio of 50%. Moreover, mDMCs cultured in KSR-supplemented medium gave rise to tooth-like structures when recombined with non-dental second-arch epithelium. Among the supplements, KSR is essential for the survival and adhesion of mDMCs, and both Egf and Fgf2 induced the expression of certain dental mesenchyme-related genes. Taken together, our results demonstrated that the transcriptomic changes responded to the alteration of odontogenic potential in cultured mDMCs and a new micromilieu partly retained this potential in vitro, providing insight into the long-term maintenance of odontogenic potential in mDMCs.

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<![CDATA[S100β-Positive Cells of Mesenchymal Origin Reside in the Anterior Lobe of the Embryonic Pituitary Gland]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daa0ab0ee8fa60ba5a28

The anterior and intermediate lobes of the pituitary gland develop through invagination of the oral ectoderm and as they are endocrine tissues, they participate in the maintenance of vital functions via the synthesis and secretion of numerous hormones. We recently observed that several extrapituitary cells invade the anterior lobe of the developing pituitary gland. This raised the question of the origin(s) of these S100β-positive cells, which are not classic endocrine cells but instead comprise a heterogeneous cell population with plural roles, especially as stem/progenitor cells. To better understand the roles of these S100β-positive cells, we performed immunohistochemical analysis using several markers in S100β/GFP-TG rats, which express GFP in S100β-expressing cells under control of the S100β promoter. GFP-positive cells were present as mesenchymal cells surrounding the developing pituitary gland and at Atwell's recess but were not present in the anterior lobe on embryonic day 15.5. These cells were negative for SOX2, a pituitary stem/progenitor marker, and PRRX1, a mesenchyme and pituitary stem/progenitor marker. However, three days later, GFP-positive and PRRX1-positive (but SOX2-negative) cells were observed in the parenchyma of the anterior lobe. Furthermore, some GFP-positive cells were positive for vimentin, p75, isolectin B4, DESMIN, and Ki67. These data suggest that S100β-positive cells of extrapituitary origin invade the anterior lobe, undergoing proliferation and diverse transformation during pituitary organogenesis.

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<![CDATA[MycN Is Critical for the Maintenance of Human Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Neural Crest Stem Cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db2dab0ee8fa60bd1c3f

The biologic studies of human neural crest stem cells (hNCSCs) are extremely challenging due to the limited source of hNCSCs as well as ethical and technical issues surrounding isolation of early human embryonic tissues. On the other hand, vast majority of studies on MycN have been conducted in human tumor cells, thus, the role of MycN in normal human neural crest development is completely unknown. In the present study, we determined the role of MycN in hNCSCs isolated from in vitro-differentiating human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). For the first time, we show that suppression of MycN in hNCSCs inhibits cell growth and cell cycle progression. Knockdown of MycN in hNCSCs increases the expression of Cdkn1a, Cdkn2a and Cdkn2b, which encodes the cyclin-dependent kinases p21CIP1, p16 INK4a and p15INK4b. In addition, MycN is involved in the regulation of human sympathetic neurogenesis, as knockdown of MycN enhances the expression of key transcription factors involved in sympathetic neuron differentiation, including Phox2a, Phox2b, Mash1, Hand2 and Gata3. We propose that unlimited source of hNCSCs provides an invaluable platform for the studies of human neural crest development and diseases.

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<![CDATA[Collective Signal Processing in Cluster Chemotaxis: Roles of Adaptation, Amplification, and Co-attraction in Collective Guidance]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db01ab0ee8fa60bc691b

Single eukaryotic cells commonly sense and follow chemical gradients, performing chemotaxis. Recent experiments and theories, however, show that even when single cells do not chemotax, clusters of cells may, if their interactions are regulated by the chemoattractant. We study this general mechanism of “collective guidance” computationally with models that integrate stochastic dynamics for individual cells with biochemical reactions within the cells, and diffusion of chemical signals between the cells. We show that if clusters of cells use the well-known local excitation, global inhibition (LEGI) mechanism to sense chemoattractant gradients, the speed of the cell cluster becomes non-monotonic in the cluster’s size—clusters either larger or smaller than an optimal size will have lower speed. We argue that the cell cluster speed is a crucial readout of how the cluster processes chemotactic signals; both amplification and adaptation will alter the behavior of cluster speed as a function of size. We also show that, contrary to the assumptions of earlier theories, collective guidance does not require persistent cell-cell contacts and strong short range adhesion. If cell-cell adhesion is absent, and the cluster cohesion is instead provided by a co-attraction mechanism, e.g. chemotaxis toward a secreted molecule, collective guidance may still function. However, new behaviors, such as cluster rotation, may also appear in this case. Co-attraction and adaptation allow for collective guidance that is robust to varying chemoattractant concentrations while not requiring strong cell-cell adhesion.

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<![CDATA[Sox10 contributes to the balance of fate choice in dorsal root ganglion progenitors]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db52ab0ee8fa60bdc626

The development of functional peripheral ganglia requires a balance of specification of both neuronal and glial components. In the developing dorsal root ganglia (DRGs), these components form from partially-restricted bipotent neuroglial precursors derived from the neural crest. Work in mouse and chick has identified several factors, including Delta/Notch signaling, required for specification of a balance of these components. We have previously shown in zebrafish that the Sry-related HMG domain transcription factor, Sox10, plays an unexpected, but crucial, role in sensory neuron fate specification in vivo. In the same study we described a novel Sox10 mutant allele, sox10baz1, in which sensory neuron numbers are elevated above those of wild-types. Here we investigate the origin of this neurogenic phenotype. We demonstrate that the supernumerary neurons are sensory neurons, and that enteric and sympathetic neurons are almost absent just as in classical sox10 null alleles; peripheral glial development is also severely abrogated in a manner similar to other sox10 mutant alleles. Examination of proliferation and apoptosis in the developing DRG reveals very low levels of both processes in wild-type and sox10baz1, excluding changes in the balance of these as an explanation for the overproduction of sensory neurons. Using chemical inhibition of Delta-Notch-Notch signaling we demonstrate that in embryonic zebrafish, as in mouse and chick, lateral inhibition during the phase of trunk DRG development is required to achieve a balance between glial and neuronal numbers. Importantly, however, we show that this mechanism is insufficient to explain quantitative aspects of the baz1 phenotype. The Sox10(baz1) protein shows a single amino acid substitution in the DNA binding HMG domain; structural analysis indicates that this change is likely to result in reduced flexibility in the HMG domain, consistent with sequence-specific modification of Sox10 binding to DNA. Unlike other Sox10 mutant proteins, Sox10(baz1) retains an ability to drive neurogenin1 transcription. We show that overexpression of neurogenin1 is sufficient to produce supernumerary DRG sensory neurons in a wild-type background, and can rescue the sensory neuron phenotype of sox10 morphants in a manner closely resembling the baz1 phenotype. We conclude that an imbalance of neuronal and glial fate specification results from the Sox10(baz1) protein’s unique ability to drive sensory neuron specification whilst failing to drive glial development. The sox10baz1 phenotype reveals for the first time that a Notch-dependent lateral inhibition mechanism is not sufficient to fully explain the balance of neurons and glia in the developing DRGs, and that a second Sox10-dependent mechanism is necessary. Sox10 is thus a key transcription factor in achieving the balance of sensory neuronal and glial fates.

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<![CDATA[Craniofacial Ciliopathies and the Interpretation of Hedgehog Signal Transduction]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da93ab0ee8fa60ba0d6e ]]> <![CDATA[TFAP2 paralogs regulate melanocyte differentiation in parallel with MITF]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db53ab0ee8fa60bdce57

Mutations in the gene encoding transcription factor TFAP2A result in pigmentation anomalies in model organisms and premature hair graying in humans. However, the pleiotropic functions of TFAP2A and its redundantly-acting paralogs have made the precise contribution of TFAP2-type activity to melanocyte differentiation unclear. Defining this contribution may help to explain why TFAP2A expression is reduced in advanced-stage melanoma compared to benign nevi. To identify genes with TFAP2A-dependent expression in melanocytes, we profile zebrafish tissue and mouse melanocytes deficient in Tfap2a, and find that expression of a small subset of genes underlying pigmentation phenotypes is TFAP2A-dependent, including Dct, Mc1r, Mlph, and Pmel. We then conduct TFAP2A ChIP-seq in mouse and human melanocytes and find that a much larger subset of pigmentation genes is associated with active regulatory elements bound by TFAP2A. These elements are also frequently bound by MITF, which is considered the “master regulator” of melanocyte development. For example, the promoter of TRPM1 is bound by both TFAP2A and MITF, and we show that the activity of a minimal TRPM1 promoter is lost upon deletion of the TFAP2A binding sites. However, the expression of Trpm1 is not TFAP2A-dependent, implying that additional TFAP2 paralogs function redundantly to drive melanocyte differentiation, which is consistent with previous results from zebrafish. Paralogs Tfap2a and Tfap2b are both expressed in mouse melanocytes, and we show that mouse embryos with Wnt1-Cre-mediated deletion of Tfap2a and Tfap2b in the neural crest almost completely lack melanocytes but retain neural crest-derived sensory ganglia. These results suggest that TFAP2 paralogs, like MITF, are also necessary for induction of the melanocyte lineage. Finally, we observe a genetic interaction between tfap2a and mitfa in zebrafish, but find that artificially elevating expression of tfap2a does not increase levels of melanin in mitfa hypomorphic or loss-of-function mutants. Collectively, these results show that TFAP2 paralogs, operating alongside lineage-specific transcription factors such as MITF, directly regulate effectors of terminal differentiation in melanocytes. In addition, they suggest that TFAP2A activity, like MITF activity, has the potential to modulate the phenotype of melanoma cells.

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