The mechanisms of formation of the distinct sensory organs of the inner ear and the non-sensory domains that separate them are still unclear. Here, we show that several sensory patches arise by progressive segregation from a common prosensory domain in the embryonic chicken and mouse otocyst. This process is regulated by mutually antagonistic signals: Notch signalling and Lmx1a. Notch-mediated lateral induction promotes prosensory fate. Some of the early Notch-active cells, however, are normally diverted from this fate and increasing lateral induction produces misshapen or fused sensory organs in the chick. Conversely Lmx1a (or cLmx1b in the chick) allows sensory organ segregation by antagonizing lateral induction and promoting commitment to the non-sensory fate. Our findings highlight the dynamic nature of sensory patch formation and the labile character of the sensory-competent progenitors, which could have facilitated the emergence of new inner ear organs and their functional diversification in the course of evolution.
- Zoe F Mann
- Nicolas Daudet
- Magdalena Żak
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All experimental procedures were carried out in accordance with the United Kingdom Scientific Procedures Act of 1986. All animals were handled according to protocols covered by a Home Office Animal Procedures Licence (PPL 70/8144) and approved by University College London local Ethics Committee.
- Marianne Bronner, California Institute of Technology, United States
© 2017, Mann 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.
SAS‑6 (SASS6) is essential for centriole formation in human cells and other organisms but its function in mouse is unclear. Here, we report that Sass6‑mutant mouse embryos lack centrioles, activate the mitotic surveillance cell death pathway and arrest at mid‑gestation. In contrast, SAS‑6 is not required for centriole formation in mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs), but is essential to maintain centriole architecture. Of note, centrioles appeared after just one day of culture of Sass6‑mutant blastocysts, from which mESCs are derived. Conversely, the number of cells with centrosomes is drastically decreased upon the exit from a mESC pluripotent state. At the mechanistic level, the activity of the master kinase in centriole formation, PLK4, associated with increased centriolar and centrosomal protein levels, endow mESCs with the robustness in using SAS‑6‑independent centriole-duplication pathways. Collectively, our data suggest a differential requirement for mouse SAS‑6 in centriole formation or integrity depending on PLK4 and centrosome composition.
The Hydra nervous system is the paradigm of a ‘simple nerve net’. Nerve cells in Hydra, as in many cnidarian polyps, are organized in a nerve net extending throughout the body column. This nerve net is required for control of spontaneous behavior: elimination of nerve cells leads to polyps that do not move and are incapable of capturing and ingesting prey (Campbell, 1976). We have re-examined the structure of the Hydra nerve net by immunostaining fixed polyps with a novel antibody that stains all nerve cells in Hydra. Confocal imaging shows that there are two distinct nerve nets, one in the ectoderm and one in the endoderm, with the unexpected absence of nerve cells in the endoderm of the tentacles. The nerve nets in the ectoderm and endoderm do not contact each other. High-resolution TEM (transmission electron microscopy) and serial block face SEM (scanning electron microscopy) show that the nerve nets consist of bundles of parallel overlapping neurites. Results from transgenic lines show that neurite bundles include different neural circuits and hence that neurites in bundles require circuit-specific recognition. Nerve cell-specific innexins indicate that gap junctions can provide this specificity. The occurrence of bundles of neurites supports a model for continuous growth and differentiation of the nerve net by lateral addition of new nerve cells to the existing net. This model was confirmed by tracking newly differentiated nerve cells.