Breathing, and the motor circuits that control it, are essential for life. At the core of respiratory circuits are Dbx1-derived interneurons, which generate the rhythm and pattern of breathing, and phrenic motor neurons (MNs), which provide the final motor output that drives diaphragm muscle contractions during inspiration. Despite their critical function, the principles that dictate how respiratory circuits assemble are unknown. Here we show that coordinated activity of a type I cadherin (N-cadherin) and type II cadherins (Cadherin-6, -9, and -10) is required in both MNs and Dbx1-derived neurons to generate robust respiratory motor output. Both MN- and Dbx1-specific cadherin inactivation in mice during a critical developmental window results in perinatal lethality due to respiratory failure and a striking reduction in phrenic MN bursting activity. This combinatorial cadherin code is required to establish phrenic MN cell body and dendritic topography; surprisingly, however, cell body position appears to be dispensable for the targeting of phrenic MNs by descending respiratory inputs. Our findings demonstrate that type I and type II cadherins function cooperatively throughout the respiratory circuit to generate a robust breathing output and reveal novel strategies that drive the assembly of motor circuits.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files; source data files have been provided for Figures 1,2,3,4 and 6.
- Polyxeni Philippidou
- Xin Duan
- Alicia N Vagnozzi
- Matthew T Moore
- Ritesh KC
- Lindsay A Schwarz
- Alicia N Vagnozzi
- Ritesh KC
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: Mouse colony maintenance and handling was performed in compliance with protocols approved by the Institutional Animal Care Use Committee of Case Western Reserve University (assurance number: A-3145-01, protocol number: 2015-0180). Mice were housed in a 12-hour light/dark cycle in cages containing no more than five animals at a time.
- Anne E West, Duke University, United States
© 2022, Vagnozzi 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.
BMP signaling has a conserved function in patterning the dorsal-ventral body axis in Bilateria and the directive axis in anthozoan cnidarians. So far, cnidarian studies have focused on the role of different BMP signaling network components in regulating pSMAD1/5 gradient formation. Much less is known about the target genes downstream of BMP signaling. To address this, we generated a genome-wide list of direct pSMAD1/5 target genes in the anthozoan Nematostella vectensis, several of which were conserved in Drosophila and Xenopus. Our ChIP-seq analysis revealed that many of the regulatory molecules with documented bilaterally symmetric expression in Nematostella are directly controlled by BMP signaling. We identified several so far uncharacterized BMP-dependent transcription factors and signaling molecules, whose bilaterally symmetric expression may be indicative of their involvement in secondary axis patterning. One of these molecules is zswim4-6, which encodes a novel nuclear protein that can modulate the pSMAD1/5 gradient and potentially promote BMP-dependent gene repression.
Background: 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.
Methods: 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.
Results: 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. Hif1a 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.
Conclusions: This study suggests a possible involvement of placental BPGM in maternal-fetal oxygen transfer, and in the pathophysiology of FGR.
Funding: This work was supported by the Weizmann Krenter Foundation and the Weizmann - Ichilov (Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center) Collaborative Grant in Biomedical Research, and by the Minerva Foundation (to MN), by the ISF KillCorona grant 3777/19 (to MN, MK).