The mechanisms that maintain the functional heterogeneity of stem cells, which generates diverse differentiated cell types required for organogenesis, are not understood. Here, we report that Trithorax (Trx) actively maintains the heterogeneity of neural stem cells (neuroblasts) in the developing Drosophila larval brain. trx mutant type II neuroblasts gradually adopt a type I neuroblast functional identity, losing the competence to generate intermediate neural progenitors (INPs) and directly generating differentiated cells. Trx regulates a type II neuroblast functional identity in part by maintaining chromatin in the buttonhead (btd) locus in an active state through the histone methyltransferase activity of the SET1/MLL complex. Consistently, btd is necessary and sufficient for eliciting a type II neuroblast functional identity. Furthermore, over-expression of btd restores the competence to generate INPs in trx mutant type II neuroblasts. Thus, Trx instructs a type II neuroblast functional identity by epigenetically promoting Btd expression, thereby maintaining neuroblast functional heterogeneity.
- Marianne E Bronner, California Institute of Technology, United States
© 2014, Komori et al.
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In the developing fruit fly brain, a protein called Trithorax increases the number of neural cells produced from a single stem cell, in part by regulating the transcription of the target genes buttonhead and pointed.
During evolution, animals have returned from land to water, adapting with morphological modifications to life in an aquatic environment. We compared the osteochondral units of the humeral head of marine and terrestrial mammals across species spanning a wide range of body weights, focusing on microstructural organization and biomechanical performance. Aquatic mammals feature cartilage with essentially random collagen fiber configuration, lacking the depth-dependent, arcade-like organization characteristic of terrestrial mammalian species. They have a less stiff articular cartilage at equilibrium with a significantly lower peak modulus, and at the osteochondral interface do not have a calcified cartilage layer, displaying only a thin, highly porous subchondral bone plate. This totally different constitution of the osteochondral unit in aquatic mammals reflects that accommodation of loading is the primordial function of the osteochondral unit. Recognizing the crucial importance of the microarchitecture-function relationship is pivotal for understanding articular biology and, hence, for the development of durable functional regenerative approaches for treatment of joint damage, which are thus far lacking.