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.
The larynx enables speech while regulating swallowing and respiration. Larynx function hinges on the laryngeal epithelium which originates as part of the anterior foregut and undergoes extensive remodeling to separate from the esophagus and form vocal folds that interface with the adjacent trachea. Here we find that sonic hedgehog (SHH) is essential for epithelial integrity in the mouse larynx as well as the anterior foregut. During larynx-esophageal separation, low Shh expression marks specific domains of actively remodeling epithelium that undergo an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) characterized by the induction of N-Cadherin and movement of cells out of the epithelial layer. Consistent with a role for SHH signaling in regulating this process, Shh mutants undergo an abnormal EMT throughout the anterior foregut and larynx, marked by a cadherin switch, movement out of the epithelial layer and cell death. Unexpectedly, Shh mutant epithelial cells are replaced by a new population of FOXA2-negative cells that likely derive from adjacent pouch tissues and form a rudimentary epithelium. These findings have important implications for interpreting the etiology of HH-dependent birth defects within the foregut. We propose that SHH signaling has a default role in maintaining epithelial identity throughout the anterior foregut and that regionalized reductions in SHH trigger epithelial remodeling.
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.