Studies in different animal model systems have revealed the impact of odors on immune cells, however, any understanding on why and how odors control cellular immunity remained unclear. We find that Drosophila employ an olfactory-immune cross-talk to tune a specific cell type, the lamellocytes, from hematopoietic-progenitor cells. We show that neuronally released GABA derived upon olfactory stimulation, is utilized by blood-progenitor cells as a metabolite and through its catabolism, these cells stabilize Sima/HIFα protein. Sima capacitates blood-progenitor cells with the ability to initiate lamellocyte differentiation. This systemic axis becomes relevant for larvae dwelling in wasp-infested environments where chances of infection are high. By co-opting the olfactory route, the pre-conditioned animals elevate their systemic GABA levels leading to the up-regulation of blood-progenitor cell Sima expression. This elevates their immune-potential and primes them to respond rapidly when infected with parasitic wasps. The present work highlights the importance of the olfaction in immunity and shows how odor detection during animal development is utilized to establish a long-range axis in the control of blood-progenitor competency and immune-priming.
All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files. Source data files have been provided for Figures 1-5 and Extended Data Figure 1-10.
- Tina Mukherjee
- Tina Mukherjee
- Tina Mukherjee
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Bruno Lemaitre, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
© 2020, Madhwal 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.
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.
An important question in organogenesis is how tissue-specific transcription factors interact with signaling pathways. In some cases, transcription factors define the context for how signaling pathways elicit tissue- or cell-specific responses, and in others, they influence signaling through transcriptional regulation of signaling components or accessory factors. We previously showed that during optic vesicle patterning, the Lim-homeodomain transcription factor Lhx2 has a contextual role by linking the Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) pathway to downstream targets without regulating the pathway itself. Here, we show that during early retinal neurogenesis in mice, Lhx2 is a multilevel regulator of Shh signaling. Specifically, Lhx2 acts cell autonomously to control the expression of pathway genes required for efficient activation and maintenance of signaling in retinal progenitor cells. The Shh co-receptors Cdon and Gas1 are candidate direct targets of Lhx2 that mediate pathway activation, whereas Lhx2 directly or indirectly promotes the expression of other pathway components important for activation and sustained signaling. We also provide genetic evidence suggesting that Lhx2 has a contextual role by linking the Shh pathway to downstream targets. Through these interactions, Lhx2 establishes the competence for Shh signaling in retinal progenitors and the context for the pathway to promote early retinal neurogenesis. The temporally distinct interactions between Lhx2 and the Shh pathway in retinal development illustrate how transcription factors and signaling pathways adapt to meet stage-dependent requirements of tissue formation.