Hedgehog signaling controls tissue patterning during embryonic and postnatal development and continues to play important roles throughout life. Characterizing the full complement of Hedgehog pathway components is essential to understanding its wide-ranging functions. Previous work has identified Neuropilins, established Semaphorin receptors, as positive regulators of Hedgehog signaling. Neuropilins require Plexin co-receptors to mediate Semaphorin signaling, but a role for Plexins in Hedgehog signaling has not yet been explored. Here, we provide evidence that multiple Plexins promote Hedgehog signaling in NIH/3T3 mouse fibroblasts and that Plexin loss-of-function in these cells results in significantly reduced Hedgehog pathway activity. Catalytic activity of the Plexin GTPase activating protein (GAP) domain is required for Hedgehog signal promotion, and constitutive activation of the GAP domain further amplifies Hedgehog signaling. Additionally, we demonstrate that Plexins promote Hedgehog signaling at the level of GLI transcription factors and that this promotion requires intact primary cilia. Finally, we find that Plexin loss-of-function significantly reduces the response to Hedgehog pathway activation in the mouse dentate gyrus. Together, these data identify Plexins as novel components of the Hedgehog pathway and provide insight into their mechanism of action.
All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files.
- Benjamin L Allen
- Benjamin L Allen
- Benjamin L Allen
- Roman J Giger
- Justine M Pinskey
- Justine M Pinskey
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All mice were housed in specific pathogen-free facilities at the University of Michigan. This study was approved by the University of Michigan Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC; Protocol Number: PRO00010440).
- Jeremy F Reiter, University of California, San Francisco, United States
© 2022, Pinskey 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.
Fetal growth restriction (FGR) is a pregnancy complication in which a newborn fails to achieve its growth potential, increasing the risk of perinatal morbidity and mortality. Chronic maternal gestational hypoxia, as well as placental insufficiency are associated with increased FGR incidence; however, the molecular mechanisms underlying FGR remain unknown.
Pregnant mice were subjected to acute or chronic hypoxia (12.5% O2) resulting in reduced fetal weight. Placenta oxygen transport was assessed by blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) contrast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The placentae were analyzed via immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization. Human placentae were selected from FGR and matched controls and analyzed by immunohistochemistry (IHC). Maternal and cord sera were analyzed by mass spectrometry.
We show that murine acute and chronic gestational hypoxia recapitulates FGR phenotype and affects placental structure and morphology. Gestational hypoxia decreased labyrinth area, increased the incidence of red blood cells (RBCs) in the labyrinth while expanding the placental spiral arteries (SpA) diameter. Hypoxic placentae exhibited higher hemoglobin-oxygen affinity compared to the control. Placental abundance of Bisphosphoglycerate mutase (BPGM) was upregulated in the syncytiotrophoblast and spiral artery trophoblast cells (SpA TGCs) in the murine gestational hypoxia groups compared to the control. Hif1α levels were higher in the acute hypoxia group compared to the control. In contrast, human FGR placentae exhibited reduced BPGM levels in the syncytiotrophoblast layer compared to placentae from healthy uncomplicated pregnancies. Levels of 2,3 BPG, the product of BPGM, were lower in cord serum of human FGR placentae compared to control. Polar expression of BPGM was found in both human and mouse placentae syncytiotrophoblast, with higher expression facing the maternal circulation. Moreover, in the murine SpA TGCs expression of BPGM was concentrated exclusively in the apical cell side, in direct proximity to the maternal circulation.
This study suggests a possible involvement of placental BPGM in maternal-fetal oxygen transfer, and in the pathophysiology of FGR.
This work was supported by the Weizmann Krenter Foundation and the Weizmann – Ichilov (Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center) Collaborative Grant in Biomedical Research, by the Minerva Foundation, by the ISF KillCorona grant 3777/19.
Touch sensation is primarily encoded by mechanoreceptors, called low-threshold mechanoreceptors (LTMRs), with their cell bodies in the dorsal root ganglia. Because of their great diversity in terms of molecular signature, terminal endings morphology, and electrophysiological properties, mirroring the complexity of tactile experience, LTMRs are a model of choice to study the molecular cues differentially controlling neuronal diversification. While the transcriptional codes that define different LTMR subtypes have been extensively studied, the molecular players that participate in their late maturation and in particular in the striking diversity of their end-organ morphological specialization are largely unknown. Here we identified the TALE homeodomain transcription factor Meis2 as a key regulator of LTMRs target-field innervation in mice. Meis2 is specifically expressed in cutaneous LTMRs, and its expression depends on target-derived signals. While LTMRs lacking Meis2 survived and are normally specified, their end-organ innervations, electrophysiological properties, and transcriptome are differentially and markedly affected, resulting in impaired sensory-evoked behavioral responses. These data establish Meis2 as a major transcriptional regulator controlling the orderly formation of sensory neurons innervating peripheral end organs required for light touch.