The progenitor cells of the developing liver can differentiate toward both hepatocyte and biliary cell fates. In addition to the established roles of TGFβ and Notch signaling in this fate specification process, there is increasing evidence that liver progenitors are sensitive to mechanical cues. Here, we utilized microarrayed patterns to provide a controlled biochemical and biomechanical microenvironment for mouse liver progenitor cell differentiation. In these defined circular geometries, we observed biliary differentiation at the periphery and hepatocytic differentiation in the center. Parallel measurements obtained by traction force microscopy showed substantial stresses at the periphery, coincident with maximal biliary differentiation. We investigated the impact of downstream signaling, showing that peripheral biliary differentiation is dependent not only on Notch and TGFβ but also E-cadherin, myosin-mediated cell contractility, and ERK. We have therefore identified distinct combinations of microenvironmental cues which guide fate specification of mouse liver progenitors toward both hepatocyte and biliary fates.
Source data tables (9 total) for the immunofluorescence and TFM array experiments have been attached to this submission and are associated with the relevant figures. Source code files (11 total) have been uploaded for the TFM analysis (Figure 4-6), FEM simulations (Figure 4), and Notch simulations (Figure 5). A detailed protocol for our array analysis technique together with source code has been made available elsewhere, see Kaylan et al. (J Vis Exp, 2017, e55362, http://dx.doi.org/10.3791/55362).
- Gregory H Underhill
- Gregory H Underhill
- Ian C Berg
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
- Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, Columbia University, United States
© 2018, Kaylan 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.
Imaging experiments reveal the complex and dynamic nature of the transcriptional hubs associated with Notch signaling.
Cylicins are testis-specific proteins, which are exclusively expressed during spermiogenesis. In mice and humans, two Cylicins, the gonosomal X-linked Cylicin 1 (Cylc1/CYLC1) and the autosomal Cylicin 2 (Cylc2/CYLC2) genes, have been identified. Cylicins are cytoskeletal proteins with an overall positive charge due to lysine-rich repeats. While Cylicins have been localized in the acrosomal region of round spermatids, they resemble a major component of the calyx within the perinuclear theca at the posterior part of mature sperm nuclei. However, the role of Cylicins during spermiogenesis has not yet been investigated. Here, we applied CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing in zygotes to establish Cylc1- and Cylc2-deficient mouse lines as a model to study the function of these proteins. Cylc1 deficiency resulted in male subfertility, whereas Cylc2-/-, Cylc1-/yCylc2+/-, and Cylc1-/yCylc2-/- males were infertile. Phenotypical characterization revealed that loss of Cylicins prevents proper calyx assembly during spermiogenesis. This results in decreased epididymal sperm counts, impaired shedding of excess cytoplasm, and severe structural malformations, ultimately resulting in impaired sperm motility. Furthermore, exome sequencing identified an infertile man with a hemizygous variant in CYLC1 and a heterozygous variant in CYLC2, displaying morphological abnormalities of the sperm including the absence of the acrosome. Thus, our study highlights the relevance and importance of Cylicins for spermiogenic remodeling and male fertility in human and mouse, and provides the basis for further studies on unraveling the complex molecular interactions between perinuclear theca proteins required during spermiogenesis.