Temporal patterning is a seminal method of expanding neuronal diversity. Here we unravel a mechanism decoding neural stem cell temporal gene expression and transforming it into discrete neuronal fates. This mechanism is characterized by hierarchical gene expression. First, Drosophila neuroblasts express opposing temporal gradients of RNA-binding proteins, Imp and Syp. These proteins promote or inhibit chinmo translation, yielding a descending neuronal gradient. Together, first and second-layer temporal factors define a temporal expression window of BTB-zinc finger nuclear protein, Mamo. The precise temporal induction of Mamo is achieved via both transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation. Finally, Mamo is essential for the temporally defined, terminal identity of α'/β' mushroom body neurons and identity maintenance. We describe a straightforward paradigm of temporal fate specification where diverse neuronal fates are defined via integrating multiple layers of gene regulation. The neurodevelopmental roles of orthologous/related mammalian genes suggest a fundamental conservation of this mechanism in brain development.
All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files. Source data files have been provided for all figures.
- Tzumin Lee
- Robert H Singer
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Oliver Hobert, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Columbia University, United States
© 2019, Liu 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.
Maternally synthesized products play critical roles in the development of offspring. A premier example is the Caenorhabditis elegans H3K36 methyltransferase MES-4, which is essential for germline survival and development in offspring. How maternal MES-4 protects the germline is not well understood, but its role in H3K36 methylation hinted that it may regulate gene expression in primordial germ cells (PGCs). We tested this hypothesis by profiling transcripts from nascent germlines (PGCs and their descendants) dissected from wild-type and mes-4 mutant (lacking maternal and zygotic MES-4) larvae. mes-4 nascent germlines displayed downregulation of some germline genes, upregulation of some somatic genes, and dramatic upregulation of hundreds of genes on the X chromosome. We demonstrated that upregulation of one or more genes on the X is the cause of germline death by generating and analyzing mes-4 mutants that inherited different endowments of X chromosome(s). Intriguingly, removal of the THAP transcription factor LIN-15B from mes-4 mutants reduced X misexpression and prevented germline death. lin-15B is X-linked and misexpressed in mes-4 PGCs, identifying it as a critical target for MES-4 repression. The above findings extend to the H3K27 methyltransferase MES-2/3/6, the C. elegans version of polycomb repressive complex 2. We propose that maternal MES-4 and PRC2 cooperate to protect germline survival by preventing synthesis of germline-toxic products encoded by genes on the X chromosome, including the key transcription factor LIN-15B.
Human muscle is a hierarchically organised tissue with its contractile cells called myofibers packed into large myofiber bundles. Each myofiber contains periodic myofibrils built by hundreds of contractile sarcomeres that generate large mechanical forces. To better understand the mechanisms that coordinate human muscle morphogenesis from tissue to molecular scales, we adopted a simple in vitro system using induced pluripotent stem cell-derived human myogenic precursors. When grown on an unrestricted two-dimensional substrate, developing myofibers spontaneously align and self-organise into higher-order myofiber bundles, which grow and consolidate to stable sizes. Following a transcriptional boost of sarcomeric components, myofibrils assemble into chains of periodic sarcomeres that emerge across the entire myofiber. More efficient myofiber bundling accelerates the speed of sarcomerogenesis suggesting that tension generated by bundling promotes sarcomerogenesis. We tested this hypothesis by directly probing tension and found that tension build-up precedes sarcomere assembly and increases within each assembling myofibril. Furthermore, we found that myofiber ends stably attach to other myofibers using integrin-based attachments and thus myofiber bundling coincides with stable myofiber bundle attachment in vitro. A failure in stable myofiber attachment results in a collapse of the myofibrils. Overall, our results strongly suggest that mechanical tension across sarcomeric components as well as between differentiating myofibers is key to coordinate the multi-scale self-organisation of muscle morphogenesis.