Human faces are variable; we look different from one another. Craniofacial disorders further increase facial variation. To understand craniofacial variation, and how it can be buffered, we analyzed the zebrafish mef2ca mutant. When this transcription factor encoding gene is mutated, zebrafish develop dramatically variable craniofacial phenotypes. Years of selective breeding for low and high penetrance of mutant phenotypes produced strains that are either resilient, or sensitive, to the mef2ca mutation. Here we compared gene expression between these strains, which revealed that selective breeding enriched for high and low mef2ca paralog expression in the low- and high-penetrance strains, respectively. We found that mef2ca paralog expression is variable in unselected wild-type zebrafish, motivating the hypothesis that heritable variation in paralog expression underlies mutant phenotype severity and variation. In support, mutagenizing the mef2ca paralogs, mef2aa, mef2b, mef2cb, and mef2d, demonstrated modular buffering by paralogs. Specifically, some paralogs buffer severity while others buffer variability. We present a novel, mechanistic model for phenotypic variation where variable, vestigial paralog expression buffers development. These studies are a major step forward in understanding the mechanisms of facial variation, including how some genetically resilient individuals can overcome a deleterious mutation.
All raw data are provided in supplementary data table.Sequencing dataset have been deposited in GEO. The raw, feature-barcode matrix can be accessed from the GEO database (accession number GSE163826).
The alx3 gene shapes the zebrafish neurocranium by regulating frontonasal neural crest cell differentiation timingNCBI Gene Expression Omnibus, GSE163826.
- James Nichols
- Raisa Bailon-Zambrano
- Jennyfer M Mitchell
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All of our work with zebrafish has been approved by the University of Colorado Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), Protocol # 00188. Animals were euthanized by hypothermic shock followed by 1.5% sodium hypochlorite.
- Tatjana Piotrowski, Stowers Institute for Medical Research, United States
- Received: April 5, 2022
- Accepted: September 21, 2022
- Accepted Manuscript published: September 22, 2022 (version 1)
© 2022, Bailon-Zambrano 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.
Mechanisms that control ‘beige/brite’ thermogenic adipose tissue development may be harnessed to improve human metabolic health. To define these mechanisms, we developed a species-hybrid model in which human mesenchymal progenitor cells were used to develop white or thermogenic/beige adipose tissue in mice. The hybrid adipose tissue developed distinctive features of human adipose tissue, such as larger adipocyte size, despite its neurovascular architecture being entirely of murine origin. Thermogenic adipose tissue recruited a denser, qualitatively distinct vascular network, differing in genes mapping to circadian rhythm pathways, and denser sympathetic innervation. The enhanced thermogenic neurovascular network was associated with human adipocyte expression of THBS4, TNC, NTRK3, and SPARCL1, which enhance neurogenesis, and decreased expression of MAOA and ACHE, which control neurotransmitter tone. Systemic inhibition of MAOA, which is present in human but absent in mouse adipocytes, induced browning of human but not mouse adipose tissue, revealing the physiological relevance of this pathway. Our results reveal species-specific cell type dependencies controlling the development of thermogenic adipose tissue and point to human adipocyte MAOA as a potential target for metabolic disease therapy.
In vitro fertilization (IVF) has resulted in the birth of over 8 million children. Although most IVF-conceived children are healthy, several studies suggest an increased risk of altered growth rate, cardiovascular dysfunction, and glucose intolerance in this population compared to naturally conceived children. However, a clear understanding of how embryonic metabolism is affected by culture condition and how embryos reprogram their metabolism is unknown. Here, we studied oxidative stress and metabolic alteration in blastocysts conceived by natural mating or by IVF and cultured in physiologic (5%) or atmospheric (20%) oxygen. We found that IVF-generated blastocysts manifest increased reactive oxygen species, oxidative damage to DNA/lipid/proteins, and reduction in glutathione. Metabolic analysis revealed IVF-generated blastocysts display decreased mitochondria respiration and increased glycolytic activity suggestive of enhanced Warburg metabolism. These findings were corroborated by altered intracellular and extracellular pH and increased intracellular lactate levels in IVF-generated embryos. Comprehensive proteomic analysis and targeted immunofluorescence showed reduction of lactate dehydrogenase-B and monocarboxylate transporter 1, enzymes involved in lactate metabolism. Importantly, these enzymes remained downregulated in the tissues of adult IVF-conceived mice, suggesting that metabolic alterations in IVF-generated embryos may result in alteration in lactate metabolism. These findings suggest that alterations in lactate metabolism are a likely mechanism involved in genomic reprogramming and could be involved in the developmental origin of health and disease.