The genetic control of anterior brain development is highly conserved throughout animals. For instance, a conserved anterior gene regulatory network specifies the ancestral neuroendocrine center of animals and the apical organ of marine organisms. However, its contribution to the brain in non-marine animals has remained elusive. Here, we study the function of the Tc-foxQ2 forkhead transcription factor, a key regulator of the anterior gene regulatory network of insects. We characterized four distinct types of Tc-foxQ2 positive neural progenitor cells based on differential co-expression with Tc-six3/optix, Tc-six4, Tc-chx/vsx, Tc-nkx2.1/scro, Tc-ey, Tc-rx and Tc-fez1. An enhancer trap line built by genome editing marked Tc-foxQ2 positive neurons, which projected through the primary brain commissure and later through a subset of commissural fascicles. Eventually, they contributed to the central complex. Strikingly, in Tc-foxQ2 RNAi knock-down embryos the primary brain commissure did not split and subsequent development of midline brain structures stalled. Our work establishes foxQ2 as a key regulator of brain midline structures, which distinguish the protocerebrum from segmental ganglia. Unexpectedly, our data suggest that the central complex evolved by integrating neural cells from an ancestral anterior neuroendocrine center.
All LSM stacks can be downloaded from the figshare repository (https://figshare.com/account/home#/projects/62939). The construct used for generating the enhancer trap is available from AddGene (#124068). The in vivo imaging data is accessible at Zenodo (10.5281/zenodo.2645645 Dataset DS0001 / "left part" of Figure 6 and Supplementary Movie 1; 10.5281/zenodo.2645657 Dataset DS0002; 10.5281/zenodo.2645665 Dataset DS0003 / "right part" of Figure 6 and Supplementary Movie 2)
In vivo imaging of foxQ2 postitive neurons in the beetle Tribolium castaneum (10X)Zenodo, 10.5281/zenodo.2645645.
In vivo imaging of foxQ2 postitive neurons in the beetle Tribolium castaneum (40X)Zenodo, 10.5281/zenodo.2645657 Dataset DS0002.
In vivo imaging of foxQ2 postitive neurons in the beetle Tribolium castaneumZenodo, 10.5281/zenodo.2645665 Dataset DS0003.
- Gregor Bucher
- Bicheng He
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Claude Desplan, New York University, United States
© 2019, He 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.