In recent years, live-imaging techniques have been developed for the adult midgut of Drosophila melanogaster that allow temporal characterization of key processes involved in stem cell and tissue homeostasis. However, these organ culture techniques have been limited to imaging sessions of <16 hours, an interval too short to track dynamic processes such as damage responses and regeneration, which can unfold over several days. Therefore, we developed an organ explant culture protocol capable of sustaining midguts ex vivo for up to 3 days. This was made possible by the formulation of a culture medium specifically designed for adult Drosophila tissues with an increased Na+/K+ ratio and trehalose concentration, and by placing midguts at an air-liquid interface for enhanced oxygenation. We show that midgut progenitor cells can respond to gut epithelial damage ex vivo, proliferating and differentiating to replace lost cells, but are quiescent in healthy intestines. Using ex vivo gene induction to promote stem cell proliferation using RasG12V or string and Cyclin E overexpression, we demonstrate that progenitor cell lineages can be traced through multiple cell divisions using live imaging. We show that the same culture set-up is useful for imaging adult renal tubules and ovaries for up to 3 days and hearts for up to 10 days. By enabling both long-term imaging and real-time ex vivo gene manipulation, our simple culture protocol provides a powerful tool for studies of epithelial biology and cell lineage behavior.
Source Data files have been provided for Figures 2, 3, 3 - figure supplement 1, 4, 6, 7, 7 - figure supplement 1, 8
- Bruce A Edgar
- Bruce A Edgar
- Bruce A Edgar
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Lucy Erin O'Brien, Stanford University School of Medicine, United States
- Received: December 1, 2021
- Accepted: August 24, 2022
- Accepted Manuscript published: August 25, 2022 (version 1)
© 2022, Marchetti 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.
In the adult Drosophila midgut, basal intestinal stem cells give rise to enteroblasts that integrate into the epithelium as they differentiate into enterocytes. Integrating enteroblasts must generate a new apical domain and break through the septate junctions between neighbouring enterocytes, while maintaining barrier function. We observe that enteroblasts form an apical membrane initiation site (AMIS) when they reach the septate junction between the enterocytes. Cadherin clears from the apical surface and an apical space appears between above the enteroblast. New septate junctions then form laterally with the enterocytes and the AMIS develops into an apical domain below the enterocyte septate junction. The enteroblast therefore forms a pre-assembled apical compartment before it has a free apical surface in contact with the gut lumen. Finally, the enterocyte septate junction disassembles and the enteroblast/pre-enterocyte reaches the gut lumen with a fully-formed brush border. The process of enteroblast integration resembles lumen formation in mammalian epithelial cysts, highlighting the similarities between the fly midgut and mammalian epithelia.
Major genomic deletions in independent eukaryotic lineages have led to repeated ancestral loss of biosynthesis pathways for nine of the twenty canonical amino acids1. While the evolutionary forces driving these polyphyletic deletion events are not well understood, the consequence is that extant metazoans are unable to produce nine essential amino acids (EAAs). Previous studies have highlighted that EAA biosynthesis tends to be more energetically costly2,3, raising the possibility that these pathways were lost from organisms with access to abundant EAAs in the environment4,5. It is unclear whether present-day metazoans can reaccept these pathways to resurrect biosynthetic capabilities that were lost long ago or whether evolution has rendered EAA pathways incompatible with metazoan metabolism. Here, we report progress on a large-scale synthetic genomics effort to reestablish EAA biosynthetic functionality in mammalian cells. We designed codon-optimized biosynthesis pathways based on genes mined from Escherichia coli. These pathways were de novo synthesized in 3 kilobase chunks, assembled in yeasto and genomically integrated into a Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cell line. One synthetic pathway produced valine at a sufficient level for cell viability and proliferation, and thus represents a successful example of metazoan EAA biosynthesis restoration. This prototrophic CHO line grows in valine-free medium, and metabolomics using labeled precursors verified de novo biosynthesis of valine. RNA-seq profiling of the valine prototrophic CHO line showed that the synthetic pathway minimally disrupted the cellular transcriptome. Furthermore, valine prototrophic cells exhibited transcriptional signatures associated with rescue from nutritional starvation. 13C-tracing revealed build-up of pathway intermediate 2,3-dihydroxy-3-isovalerate in these cells. Increasing the dosage of downstream ilvD boosted pathway performance and allowed for long-term propagation of second-generation cells in valine-free medium at a consistent doubling time of 3.2 days. This work demonstrates that mammalian metabolism is amenable to restoration of ancient core pathways, paving a path for genome-scale efforts to synthetically restore metabolic functions to the metazoan lineage.