Cell fate is maintained over long timescales, yet molecular fluctuations can lead to spontaneous loss of this differentiated state. Our simulations identified a possible mechanism that explains life-long maintenance of ASE neuron fate in C. elegans by the terminal selector transcription factor CHE-1. Here, fluctuations in CHE-1 level are buffered by the reservoir of CHE-1 bound at its target promoters, which ensures continued che-1 expression by preferentially binding the che-1 promoter. We provide experimental evidence for this mechanism by showing that che-1 expression was resilient to induced transient CHE-1 depletion, while both expression of CHE-1 targets and ASE function were lost. We identified a 130 bp che-1 promoter fragment responsible for this resilience, with deletion of a homeodomain binding site in this fragment causing stochastic loss of ASE identity long after its determination. Because network architectures that support this mechanism are highly conserved in cell differentiation, it may explain stable cell fate maintenance in many systems.
All analysed data and analysis scripts are included in the manuscript and supporting files.
- Jeroen S van Zon
- Gert Jansen
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Silke Hauf, Virginia Tech, United States
© 2021, Traets 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.
Gain-of-function mutations in the protein-tyrosine phosphatase SHP2 are the most frequently occurring mutations in sporadic juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML) and JMML-like myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) associated with Noonan syndrome (NS). Hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) are the disease propagating cells of JMML. Here, we explored transcriptomes of HSPCs with SHP2 mutations derived from JMML patients and a novel NS zebrafish model. In addition to major NS traits, CRISPR/Cas9 knock-in Shp2D61G mutant zebrafish recapitulated a JMML-like MPN phenotype, including myeloid lineage hyperproliferation, ex vivo growth of myeloid colonies, and in vivo transplantability of HSPCs. Single-cell mRNA sequencing of HSPCs from Shp2D61G zebrafish embryos and bulk sequencing of HSPCs from JMML patients revealed an overlapping inflammatory gene expression pattern. Strikingly, an anti-inflammatory agent rescued JMML-like MPN in Shp2D61G zebrafish embryos. Our results indicate that a common inflammatory response was triggered in the HSPCs from sporadic JMML patients and syndromic NS zebrafish, which potentiated MPN and may represent a future target for JMML therapies.
Zebrafish are an established research organism that has made many contributions to our understanding of vertebrate tissue and organ development, yet there are still significant gaps in our understanding of the genes that regulate gonad development, sex, and reproduction. Unlike the development of many organs, such as the brain and heart that form during the first few days of development, zebrafish gonads do not begin to form until the larval stage (≥5 dpf). Thus, forward genetic screens have identified very few genes required for gonad development. In addition, bulk RNA sequencing studies which identify genes expressed in the gonads do not have the resolution necessary to define minor cell populations that may play significant roles in development and function of these organs. To overcome these limitations, we have used single-cell RNA sequencing to determine the transcriptomes of cells isolated from juvenile zebrafish ovaries. This resulted in the profiles of 10,658 germ cells and 14,431 somatic cells. Our germ cell data represents all developmental stages from germline stem cells to early meiotic oocytes. Our somatic cell data represents all known somatic cell types, including follicle cells, theca cells and ovarian stromal cells. Further analysis revealed an unexpected number of cell subpopulations within these broadly defined cell types. To further define their functional significance, we determined the location of these cell subpopulations within the ovary. Finally, we used gene knockout experiments to determine the roles of foxl2l and wnt9b for oocyte development and sex determination and/or differentiation, respectively. Our results reveal novel insights into zebrafish ovarian development and function and the transcriptome profiles will provide a valuable resource for future studies.