Understanding how cellular identity naturally interconverts with high efficiency and temporospatial precision is crucial for regenerative medicine. Here we revealed a natural midgut-to-renal lineage conversion event during Drosophila metamorphosis and identified the evolutionarily-conserved homeodomain protein Cut as a master switch in this process. A steep Wnt/Wingless morphogen gradient intersects with a pulse of steroid hormone ecdysone to induce cut expression in a subset of midgut progenitors and reprogram them into renal progenitors. Molecularly, ecdysone-induced temporal factor Broad physically interacts with cut enhancer-bound Wnt pathway effector TCF/β-catenin and likely bridges the distant enhancer and promoter region of cut through its self-association. Such long-range enhancer-promoter looping could subsequently trigger timely cut transcription. Our results therefore led us to propose an unexpected poising-and-bridging mechanism whereby spatial and temporal cues intersect, likely via chromatin looping, to turn on a master transcription factor and dictate efficient and precise lineage reprogramming.
- Yan Song
- Yan Song
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- K VijayRaghavan, National Centre for Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, India
© 2018, Xu 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.