Salamanders are unparalleled among tetrapods in their ability to regenerate many structures, including entire limbs, and the study of this ability may provide insights into human regenerative therapies. The complex structure of the limb poses challenges to the investigation of the cellular and molecular basis of its regeneration. Using CRISPR/Cas, we genetically labelled unique cell lineages within the developing axolotl embryo and tracked the frequency of each lineage within amputated and fully regenerated limbs. This allowed us, for the first time, to assess the contributions of multiple low frequency cell lineages to the regenerating limb at once. Our comparisons reveal that regenerated limbs are high fidelity replicas of the originals even after repeated amputations.
- Grant Parker Flowers
- Grant Parker Flowers
- Craig M Crews
- Lucas D Sanor
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: Experimental procedures were approved by the Yale University IACUC (2016-10557) and were in accordance with all federal policies and guidelines governing the use of vertebrate animals.
- Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado, Stowers Institute for Medical Research, United States
© 2017, Flowers et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Single-cell technologies (RNA-sequencing, flow cytometry) are critical tools to reveal how cell heterogeneity impacts developmental pathways. The placenta is a fetal exchange organ, containing a heterogeneous mix of mesenchymal cells (fibroblasts, myofibroblasts, perivascular, and progenitor cells) . Placental mesenchymal stromal cells (pMSC) are also routinely isolated, for therapeutic and research purposes. However, our understanding of the diverse phenotypes of placental mesenchymal lineages, and their relationships remain unclear. We designed a 23-colour flow cytometry panel to assess mesenchymal heterogeneity in first-trimester human placentae. . Four distinct mesenchymal subsets were identified; CD73+CD90+ mesenchymal cells, CD146+CD271+ perivascular cells, podoplanin+CD36+ stromal cells, and CD26+CD90+ myofibroblasts. CD73+CD90+ and podoplanin+CD36+ cells expressed markers consistent with cultured pMSCs, and were explored further. Despite their distinct ex-vivo phenotype, in culture CD73+CD90+ cells and podoplanin+CD36+ cells underwent phenotypic convergence, losing CD271 or CD36 expression respectively, and homogenously exhibiting a basic MSC phenotype (CD73+CD90+CD31-CD144-CD45-). However, some markers (CD26, CD146) were not impacted, or differentially impacted by culture in different populations. Comparisons of cultured phenotypes to pMSCs further suggested cultured pMSCs originate from podoplanin+CD36+ cells. This highlights the importance of detailed cell phenotyping to optimise therapeutic capacity, and ensure use of relevant cells in functional assays.
The pituitary represents the endocrine master regulator. In mouse, the gland undergoes active maturation immediately after birth. Here, we in detail portrayed the stem cell compartment of neonatal pituitary. Single-cell RNA-sequencing pictured an active gland, revealing proliferative stem as well as hormonal (progenitor) cell populations. The stem cell pool displayed a hybrid epithelial/mesenchymal phenotype, characteristic of development-involved tissue stem cells. Organoid culturing recapitulated the stem cells’ phenotype, interestingly also reproducing their paracrine activity. The pituitary stem cell-activating interleukin-6 advanced organoid growth, although the neonatal stem cell compartment was not visibly affected in Il6−/− mice, likely due to cytokine family redundancy. Further transcriptomic analysis exposed a pronounced WNT pathway in the neonatal gland, shown to be involved in stem cell activation and to overlap with the (fetal) human pituitary transcriptome. Following local damage, the neonatal gland efficiently regenerates, despite absence of additional stem cell proliferation, or upregulated IL-6 or WNT expression, all in line with the already high stem cell activation status, thereby exposing striking differences with adult pituitary. Together, our study decodes the stem cell compartment of neonatal pituitary, exposing an activated state in the maturing gland. Understanding stem cell activation is key to potential pituitary regenerative prospects.