Neurogenesis is the generation of neurons from stem cells, a process that is regulated by SoxB transcription factors (TFs) in many animals. Although the roles of these TFs are well understood in bilaterians, how their neural function evolved is unclear. Here, we use Hydractinia symbiolongicarpus, a member of the early-branching phylum Cnidaria, to provide insight into this question. Using a combination of mRNA in situ hybridization, transgenesis, gene knockdown, transcriptomics, and in-vivo imaging, we provide a comprehensive molecular and cellular analysis of neurogenesis during embryogenesis, homeostasis, and regeneration in this animal. We show that SoxB genes act sequentially at least in some cases. Stem cells expressing Piwi1 and Soxb1, which have a broad developmental potential, become neural progenitors that express Soxb2 before differentiating into mature neural cells. Knockdown of SoxB genes resulted in complex defects in embryonic neurogenesis. Hydractinia neural cells differentiate while migrating from the aboral to the oral end of the animal, but it is unclear whether migration per se or exposure to different microenvironments is the main driver of their fate determination. Our data constitute a rich resource for studies aiming at addressing this question, which is at the heart of understanding the origin and development of animal nervous systems.
The accession number for the RNA-seq datasets generated in this study is Sequence Read Archive (SRA): BioProjects PRJNA549873 (bulk RNA-seq) and PRJNA777228 (single cell RNA-seq). Accession numbers for each sample are listed in Table S2. The Hydractinia symbiolongicarpus genome is available through the NIH National Human Genome Research Institute (https://research.nhgri.nih.gov/hydractinia/). Corresponding data is archived in the NCBI Sequence Read Archive (SRA) under BioProject PRJNA807936.
Bulk RNA-seqSRA, PRJNA549873.
- Uri Frank
- Uri Frank
- Uri Frank
- Christine E Schnitzler
- Andy D Baxevanis
- Sebastian G Gornik
- Miguel Salinas-Saavedra
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Marianne E Bronner, California Institute of Technology, United States
This is an open-access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.
We have identified active enhancers in the mouse cerebellum at embryonic and postnatal stages which provides a view of novel enhancers active during cerebellar development. The majority of cerebellar enhancers have dynamic activity between embryonic and postnatal development. Cerebellar enhancers were enriched for neural transcription factor binding sites with temporally specific expression. Putative gene targets displayed spatially restricted expression patterns, indicating cell-type specific expression regulation. Functional analysis of target genes indicated that enhancers regulate processes spanning several developmental epochs such as specification, differentiation and maturation. We use these analyses to discover one novel regulator and one novel marker of cerebellar development: Bhlhe22 and Pax3, respectively. We identified an enrichment of de novo mutations and variants associated with autism spectrum disorder in cerebellar enhancers. Furthermore, by comparing our data with relevant brain development ENCODE histone profiles and cerebellar single-cell datasets we have been able to generalize and expand on the presented analyses, respectively. We have made the results of our analyses available online in the Developing Mouse Cerebellum Enhancer Atlas (https://goldowitzlab.shinyapps.io/developing_mouse_cerebellum_enhancer_atlas/), where our dataset can be efficiently queried, curated and exported by the scientific community to facilitate future research efforts. Our study provides a valuable resource for studying the dynamics of gene expression regulation by enhancers in the developing cerebellum and delivers a rich dataset of novel gene-enhancer associations providing a basis for future in-depth studies in the cerebellum.
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