DLL1 and DLL4 are Notch ligands with high structural similarity but context-dependent functional differences. Here, we analyze their functional divergence using cellular co-culture assays, biochemical studies, and in vivo experiments. DLL1 and DLL4 activate NOTCH1 and NOTCH2 differently in cell-based assays and this discriminating potential lies in the region between the N-terminus and EGF repeat three. Mice expressing chimeric ligands indicate that the ectodomains dictate ligand function during somitogenesis, and that during myogenesis even regions C-terminal to EGF3 are interchangeable. Substitution of NOTCH1-interface residues in the MNNL and DSL domains of DLL1 with the corresponding amino acids of DLL4, however, does not disrupt DLL1 function in vivo. Collectively, our data show that DLL4 preferentially activates NOTCH1 over NOTCH2, whereas DLL1 is equally effective in activating NOTCH1 and NOTCH2, establishing that the ectodomains dictate selective ligand function in vivo, and that features outside the known binding interface contribute to their differences.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files and source data files.
- Achim Gossler
- Stephen C Blacklow
- Sanchez M Jarrett
- Achim Gossler
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All animal experiments were performed according to the German rules and regulations (Tierschutzgesetz) and approved by the ethics committee of Lower Saxony for care and use of laboratory animals LAVES (Niedersächsisches Landesamt für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit; refs.: 33.12-42502-04-13/1314 and 33.14-42502-04-13/1293). Mice were housed in the central animal facility of Hannover Medical School (ZTL) and were maintained as approved by the responsible Veterinary Officer of the City of Hannover. Animal welfare was supervised and approved by the Institutional Animal Welfare Officer (Tierschutzbeauftragter).
- Urban Lendahl, Karolinska Institute, Sweden
© 2018, Tveriakhina 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.
The larynx enables speech while regulating swallowing and respiration. Larynx function hinges on the laryngeal epithelium which originates as part of the anterior foregut and undergoes extensive remodeling to separate from the esophagus and form vocal folds that interface with the adjacent trachea. Here we find that sonic hedgehog (SHH) is essential for epithelial integrity in the mouse larynx as well as the anterior foregut. During larynx-esophageal separation, low Shh expression marks specific domains of actively remodeling epithelium that undergo an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) characterized by the induction of N-Cadherin and movement of cells out of the epithelial layer. Consistent with a role for SHH signaling in regulating this process, Shh mutants undergo an abnormal EMT throughout the anterior foregut and larynx, marked by a cadherin switch, movement out of the epithelial layer and cell death. Unexpectedly, Shh mutant epithelial cells are replaced by a new population of FOXA2-negative cells that likely derive from adjacent pouch tissues and form a rudimentary epithelium. These findings have important implications for interpreting the etiology of HH-dependent birth defects within the foregut. We propose that SHH signaling has a default role in maintaining epithelial identity throughout the anterior foregut and that regionalized reductions in SHH trigger epithelial remodeling.
N 6-methyladenosine (m6A) is the most prevalent mRNA internal modification and has been shown to regulate the development, physiology, and pathology of various tissues. However, the functions of the m6A epitranscriptome in the visual system remain unclear. In this study, using a retina-specific conditional knockout mouse model, we show that retinas deficient in Mettl3, the core component of the m6A methyltransferase complex, exhibit structural and functional abnormalities beginning at the end of retinogenesis. Immunohistological and single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) analyses of retinogenesis processes reveal that retinal progenitor cells (RPCs) and Müller glial cells are the two cell types primarily affected by Mettl3 deficiency. Integrative analyses of scRNA-seq and MeRIP-seq data suggest that m6A fine-tunes the transcriptomic transition from RPCs to Müller cells by promoting the degradation of RPC transcripts, the disruption of which leads to abnormalities in late retinogenesis and likely compromises the glial functions of Müller cells. Overexpression of m6A-regulated RPC transcripts in late RPCs partially recapitulates the Mettl3-deficient retinal phenotype. Collectively, our study reveals an epitranscriptomic mechanism governing progenitor-to-glial cell transition during late retinogenesis, which is essential for the homeostasis of the mature retina. The mechanism revealed in this study might also apply to other nervous systems.