Mammalian adaptation to oxygen flux occurs at many levels, from shifts in cellular metabolism to physiological adaptations facilitated by the sympathetic nervous system and carotid body (CB). Interactions between differing forms of adaptive response to hypoxia, including transcriptional responses orchestrated by the Hypoxia Inducible transcription Factors (HIFs), are complex and clearly synergistic. We show here that there is an absolute developmental requirement for HIF-2α, one of the HIF isoforms, for growth and survival of oxygen sensitive glomus cells of the carotid body. The loss of these cells renders mice incapable of ventilatory responses to hypoxia, and this has striking effects on processes as diverse as arterial pressure regulation, exercise performance, and glucose homeostasis. We show that the expansion of the glomus cells is correlated with mTORC1 activation, and is functionally inhibited by rapamycin treatment. These findings demonstrate the central role played by HIF-2α in carotid body development, growth and function.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files.
- Randall Johnson
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: This work was carried out with approval and following review of the University of Cambridge AWERB (Animal Welfare Ethical Review Board) and under license of the UK Home Office (Home Office License numbers 80/2618 and PC64B8953).
- Kari Alitalo, University of Helsinki, Finland
© 2018, Macias 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.
Neural circuit formation and function require that diverse neurons are specified in appropriate numbers. Known strategies for controlling neuronal numbers involve regulating either cell proliferation or survival. We used the Drosophila visual system to probe how neuronal numbers are set. Photoreceptors from the eye-disc induce their target field, the lamina, such that for every unit eye there is a corresponding lamina unit (column). Although each column initially contains ~6 post-mitotic lamina precursors, only 5 differentiate into neurons, called L1-L5; the ‘extra’ precursor, which is invariantly positioned above the L5 neuron in each column, undergoes apoptosis. Here, we showed that a glial population called the outer chiasm giant glia (xgO), which resides below the lamina, secretes multiple ligands to induce L5 differentiation in response to epidermal growth factor (EGF) from photoreceptors. By forcing neuronal differentiation in the lamina, we uncovered that though fated to die, the ‘extra’ precursor is specified as an L5. Therefore, two precursors are specified as L5s but only one differentiates during normal development. We found that the row of precursors nearest to xgO differentiate into L5s and, in turn, antagonise differentiation signalling to prevent the ‘extra’ precursors from differentiating, resulting in their death. Thus, an intricate interplay of glial signals and feedback from differentiating neurons defines an invariant and stereotyped pattern of neuronal differentiation and programmed cell death to ensure that lamina columns each contain exactly one L5 neuron.