To spatially co-exist and differentially specify fates within developing tissues, morphogenetic cues must be correctly positioned and interpreted. Here, we investigate mouse hair follicle development to understand how morphogens operate within closely spaced, fate-diverging progenitors. Coupling transcriptomics with genetics, we show that emerging hair progenitors produce both WNTs and WNT inhibitors. Surprisingly, however, instead of generating a negative feedback loop, the signals oppositely polarize, establishing sharp boundaries and consequently a short-range morphogen gradient that we show is essential for three-dimensional pattern formation. By establishing a morphogen gradient at the cellular level, signals become constrained. The progenitor preserves its WNT signaling identity and maintains WNT signaling with underlying mesenchymal neighbors, while its overlying epithelial cells become WNT-restricted. The outcome guarantees emergence of adjacent distinct cell types to pattern the tissue.
RNA sequencing data have been deposited in the Gene Expression Omnibus under accession number GSE108745
WNT-signaling cells polarize inhibitors to protect their identity and fateNCBI Gene Expression Omnibus, GSE108745.
- Elaine Fuchs
- Elaine Fuchs
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 procedures used in this study are described in our #17020-H protocol named Development and Differentiation in the Skin, which had been previously reviewed and approved by the Rockefeller University Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).
- Valerie Horsley, Yale University, United States
© 2020, Matos 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.
Measuring the positions and dynamics of proteins in intact tissues or whole animals is key to understanding protein function. However, to date, this is challenging, as the accessibility of large antibodies to dense tissues is often limited, and fluorescent proteins inserted close to a domain of interest may affect protein function. These complications apply in particular to muscle sarcomeres, arguably one of the most protein-dense assemblies in nature, which complicates studying sarcomere morphogenesis at molecular resolution. Here, we introduce a toolbox of nanobodies recognising various domains of the two Drosophila titin homologs, Sallimus and Projectin, as well as the key sarcomeric proteins Obscurin, α-Actinin, and Zasp52. We verified the superior labelling qualities of our nanobodies in muscle tissue as compared to antibodies. By applying our toolbox to larval muscles, we found a gigantic Sallimus isoform stretching more than 2 µm to bridge the sarcomeric I-band, while Projectin covers almost the entire myosin filaments in a polar orientation. Transgenic expression of tagged nanobodies confirmed their high affinity-binding without affecting target protein function. Finally, adding a degradation signal to anti-Sallimus nanobodies suggested that it is difficult to fully degrade Sallimus in mature sarcomeres; however, expression of these nanobodies caused developmental lethality. These results may inspire the generation of similar toolboxes for other large protein complexes in Drosophila or mammals.
We have focused on the mushroom bodies (MB) of Drosophila to determine how the larval circuits are formed and then transformed into those of the adult at metamorphosis. The adult MB has a core of thousands of Kenyon neurons; axons of the early-born g class form a medial lobe and those from later-born a'b' and ab classes form both medial and vertical lobes. The larva, however, hatches with only g neurons and forms a vertical lobe 'facsimile' using larval-specific axon branches from its g neurons. Computations by the MB involves MB input (MBINs) and output (MBONs) neurons that divide the lobes into discrete compartments. The larva has 10 such compartments while the adult MB has 16. We determined the fates of 28 of the 32 types of MBONs and MBINs that define the 10 larval compartments. Seven larval compartments are eventually incorporated into the adult MB; four of their larval MBINs die, while 12 MBINs/MBONs continue into the adult MB although with some compartment shifting. The remaining three larval compartments are larval specific, and their MBIN/MBONs trans-differentiate at metamorphosis, leaving the MB and joining other adult brain circuits. With the loss of the larval vertical lobe facsimile, the adult vertical lobes, are made de novo at metamorphosis, and their MBONs/MBINs are recruited from the pool of adult-specific cells. The combination of cell death, compartment shifting, trans-differentiation, and recruitment of new neurons result in no larval MBIN-MBON connections persisting through metamorphosis. At this simple level, then, we find no anatomical substrate for a memory trace persisting from larva to adult. For the neurons that trans-differentiate, our data suggest that their adult phenotypes are in line with their evolutionarily ancestral roles while their larval phenotypes are derived adaptations for the larval stage. These cells arise primarily within lineages that also produce permanent MBINs and MBONs, suggesting that larval specifying factors may allow information related to birth-order or sibling identity to be interpreted in a modified manner in these neurons to cause them to adopt a modified, larval phenotype. The loss of such factors at metamorphosis, though, would then allow these cells to adopt their ancestral phenotype in the adult system.