Plant meristems carry pools of continuously active stem cells, whose activity is controlled by developmental and environmental signals. After stem cell division, daughter cells that exit the stem cell domain acquire transit amplifying cell identity before they are incorporated into organs and differentiate. In this study, we used an integrated approach to elucidate the role of HECATE (HEC) genes in regulating developmental trajectories of shoot stem cells in Arabidopsis thaliana. Our work reveals that HEC function stabilizes cell fate in distinct zones of the shoot meristem thereby controlling the spatio-temporal dynamics of stem cell differentiation. Importantly, this activity is concomitant with the local modulation of cellular responses to cytokinin and auxin, two key phytohormones regulating cell behaviour. Mechanistically, we show that HEC factors transcriptionally control and physically interact with MONOPTEROS (MP), a key regulator of auxin signalling, and modulate the autocatalytic stabilization of auxin signalling output.
- Anna Marciniak-Czochra
- Jan U Lohmann
- Anne Pfeiffer
- Anne Pfeiffer
- Martin F Yanofsky
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Dominique C Bergmann, Stanford University/HHMI, United States
© 2017, Gaillochet 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.
Basal cells are multipotent stem cells of a variety of organs, including the respiratory tract, where they are major components of the airway epithelium. However, it remains unclear how diverse basal cells are, and how distinct subpopulations respond to airway challenges. Using single cell RNA-sequencing and functional approaches, we report a significant and previously underappreciated degree of heterogeneity in the basal cell pool, leading to identification of six subpopulations in the adult murine trachea. Among these, we found two major subpopulations collectively comprising the most uncommitted of all the pool, but with distinct gene expression signatures. Notably, these occupy distinct ventral and dorsal tracheal niches and differ in their ability to self-renew and initiate a program of differentiation in response to environmental perturbations in primary cultures and in mouse injury models in vivo. We found that such heterogeneity is acquired prenatally, when the basal cell pool and local niches are still being established, and depends on the integrity of these niches, as supported by the altered basal cell phenotype of tracheal cartilage-deficient mouse mutants. Lastly, we show that features that distinguish these progenitor subpopulations in murine airways are conserved in humans. Together, the data provide novel insights into the origin and impact of basal cell heterogeneity on the establishment of regionally distinct responses of the airway epithelium during injury-repair and in disease conditions.
Planarians have become an established model system to study regeneration and stem cells, but the regulatory elements in the genome remain almost entirely undescribed. Here, by integrating epigenetic and expression data we use multiple sources of evidence to predict enhancer elements active in the adult stem cell populations that drive regeneration. We have used ChIP-seq data to identify genomic regions with histone modifications consistent with enhancer activity, and ATAC-seq data to identify accessible chromatin. Overlapping these signals allowed for the identification of a set of high-confidence candidate enhancers predicted to be active in planarian adult stem cells. These enhancers are enriched for predicted transcription factor (TF) binding sites for TFs and TF families expressed in planarian adult stem cells. Footprinting analyses provided further evidence that these potential TF binding sites are likely to be occupied in adult stem cells. We integrated these analyses to build testable hypotheses for the regulatory function of TFs in stem cells, both with respect to how pluripotency might be regulated, and to how lineage differentiation programs are controlled. We found that our predicted GRNs were independently supported by existing TF RNAi/RNA-seq datasets, providing further evidence that our work predicts active enhancers that regulate adult stem cells and regenerative mechanisms.