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See detailRfx6 is an Ngn3-dependent winged helix transcription factor required for pancreatic islet cell development.
Soyer, Josselin; Flasse, Lydie ULg; Raffelsberger, Wolfgang et al

in Development (2010), 137(2), 203-12

The transcription factor neurogenin 3 (Neurog3 or Ngn3) controls islet cell fate specification in multipotent pancreatic progenitor cells in the mouse embryo. However, our knowledge of the genetic ... [more ▼]

The transcription factor neurogenin 3 (Neurog3 or Ngn3) controls islet cell fate specification in multipotent pancreatic progenitor cells in the mouse embryo. However, our knowledge of the genetic programs implemented by Ngn3, which control generic and islet subtype-specific properties, is still fragmentary. Gene expression profiling in isolated Ngn3-positive progenitor cells resulted in the identification of the uncharacterized winged helix transcription factor Rfx6. Rfx6 is initially expressed broadly in the gut endoderm, notably in Pdx1-positive cells in the developing pancreatic buds, and then becomes progressively restricted to the endocrine lineage, suggesting a dual function in both endoderm development and islet cell differentiation. Rfx6 is found in postmitotic islet progenitor cells in the embryo and is maintained in all developing and adult islet cell types. Rfx6 is dependent on Ngn3 and acts upstream of or in parallel with NeuroD, Pax4 and Arx transcription factors during islet cell differentiation. In zebrafish, the Rfx6 ortholog is similarly found in progenitors and hormone expressing cells of the islet lineage. Loss-of-function studies in zebrafish revealed that rfx6 is required for the differentiation of glucagon-, ghrelin- and somatostatin-expressing cells, which, in the absence of rfx6, are blocked at the progenitor stage. By contrast, beta cells, whose number is only slightly reduced, were no longer clustered in a compact islet. These data unveil Rfx6 as a novel regulator of islet cell development. [less ▲]

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See detailReciprocal endoderm-mesoderm interactions mediated by fgf24 and fgf10 govern pancreas development
Manfroid, Isabelle ULg; Delporte, F.; Baudhuin, A. et al

in Development (2007), 134(22), 4011-21

In amniotes, the pancreatic mesenchyme plays a crucial role in pancreatic epithelium growth, notably through the secretion of fibroblast growth factors. However, the factors involved in the formation of ... [more ▼]

In amniotes, the pancreatic mesenchyme plays a crucial role in pancreatic epithelium growth, notably through the secretion of fibroblast growth factors. However, the factors involved in the formation of the pancreatic mesenchyme are still largely unknown. In this study, we characterize, in zebrafish embryos, the pancreatic lateral plate mesoderm, which is located adjacent to the ventral pancreatic bud and is essential for its specification and growth. We firstly show that the endoderm, by expressing the fgf24 gene at early stages, triggers the patterning of the pancreatic lateral plate mesoderm. Based on the expression of isl1, fgf10 and meis genes, this tissue is analogous to the murine pancreatic mesenchyme. Secondly, Fgf10 acts redundantly with Fgf24 in the pancreatic lateral plate mesoderm and they are both required to specify the ventral pancreas. Our results unveil sequential signaling between the endoderm and mesoderm that is critical for the specification and growth of the ventral pancreas, and explain why the zebrafish ventral pancreatic bud generates the whole exocrine tissue. [less ▲]

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See detailRegulation of procollagen amino-propeptide processing during mouse embryogenesis by specialization of homologous ADAMTS proteases: insights on collagen biosynthesis and dermatosparaxis
Le Goff, Carine; Somerville, Robert PT; Kesteloot, Frédéric ULg et al

in Development (2006), 133(8), 1587-1596

Mutations in ADAMTS2, a procollagen amino-propeptidase, cause severe skin fragility, designated as dermatosparaxis in animals, and a subtype of the Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (dermatosparactic type or VIIC ... [more ▼]

Mutations in ADAMTS2, a procollagen amino-propeptidase, cause severe skin fragility, designated as dermatosparaxis in animals, and a subtype of the Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (dermatosparactic type or VIIC) in humans. Not all collagen-rich tissues are affected to the same degree, which suggests compensation by the ADAMTS2 homologs ADAMTS3 and ADAMTS14. In situ hybridization of Adamts2, Adamts3 and Adamts14, and of the genes encoding the major. brillar collagens, Col1a1, Col2a1 and Col3a1, during mouse embryogenesis, demonstrated distinct tissue-specific, overlapping expression patterns of the protease and substrate genes. Adamts3, but not Adamts2 or Adamts14, was co-expressed with Col2a1 in cartilage throughout development, and with Col1a1 in bone and musculotendinous tissues. ADAMTS3 induced procollagen I processing in dermatosparactic. broblasts, suggesting a role in procollagen I processing during musculoskeletal development. Adamts2, but not Adamts3 or Adamts14, was co-expressed with Col3a1 in many tissues including the lungs and aorta, and Adamts2(-/-) mice showed widespread defects in procollagen III processing. Adamts2(-/-) mice had abnormal lungs, characterized by a decreased parenchymal density. However, the aorta and collagen fibrils in the aortic wall appeared normal. Although Adamts14 lacked developmental tissue-specific expression, it was co-expressed with Adamts2 in mature dermis, which possibly explains the presence of some processed skin procollagen in dermatosparaxis. The data show how evolutionarily related proteases with similar substrate preferences may have distinct biological roles owing to tissue specific gene expression, and provide insights into collagen biosynthesis and the pathobiology of dermatosparaxis. [less ▲]

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See detailThree putative murine Teashirt orthologues specify trunk structures in Drosophila in the same way as the Drosophila teashirt gene.
Manfroid, Isabelle ULg

in Development (2004), 131

Drosophila teashirt (tsh) functions as a region-specific homeotic gene that specifies trunk identity during embryogenesis. Based on sequence homology, three tsh-like (Tsh) genes have been identified in ... [more ▼]

Drosophila teashirt (tsh) functions as a region-specific homeotic gene that specifies trunk identity during embryogenesis. Based on sequence homology, three tsh-like (Tsh) genes have been identified in the mouse. Their expression patterns in specific regions of the trunk, limbs and gut raise the possibility that they may play similar roles to tsh in flies. By expressing the putative mouse Tsh genes in flies, we provide evidence that they behave in a very similar way to the fly tsh gene. First, ectopic expression of any of the three mouse Tsh genes, like that of tsh, induces head to trunk homeotic transformation. Second, mouse Tsh proteins can rescue both the homeotic and the segment polarity phenotypes of a tsh null mutant. Third, following ectopic expression, the three mouse Tsh genes affect the expression of the same target genes as tsh in the Drosophila embryo. Fourth, mouse Tsh genes, like tsh, are able to induce ectopic eyes in adult flies. Finally, all Tsh proteins contain a motif that recruits the C-terminal binding protein and contributes to their repression function. As no other vertebrate or fly protein has been shown to induce such effects upon ectopic expression, these results are consistent with the idea that the three mouse Tsh genes are functionally equivalent to the Drosophila tsh gene when expressed in developing Drosophila embryos. [less ▲]

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See detailReelin signaling directly affects radial glia morphology and biochemical maturation
Hartfuss, Eva; Forster, Eckart; Bock, Hans H. et al

in Development (2003), 130(19), 4597-4609

Radial glial cells are characterized, besides their astroglial properties, by long radial processes extending from the ventricular zone to the pial surface, a crucial feature for the radial migration of ... [more ▼]

Radial glial cells are characterized, besides their astroglial properties, by long radial processes extending from the ventricular zone to the pial surface, a crucial feature for the radial migration of neurons. The molecular signals that regulate this characteristic morphology, however, are largely unknown. We show an important role of the secreted molecule reelin for the establishment of radial glia processes. We describe a significant reduction in ventricular zone cells with long radial processes in the absence of reelin in the cortex of reeler mutant mice. These defects were correlated to a decrease in the content of brain lipid-binding protein (Blbp) and were detected exclusively in the cerebral cortex, but not in the basal ganglia of reeler mice. Conversely, reelin addition in vitro increased the Blbp content and process extension of radial glia from the cortex, but not the basal ganglia. Isolation of radial glia by fluorescent-activated cell sorting showed that these effects are due to direct signaling of reelin to radial glial cells. We could further demonstrate that this signaling requires Dab1, as the increase in Blbp upon reelin addition failed to occur in Dab1(-/-) mice. Taken together, these results unravel a novel role of reelin signaling to radial glial cells that is crucial for the regulation of their Blbp content and characteristic morphology in a region-specific manner. [less ▲]

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See detailSTYLOSA and FISTULATA: regulatory components of the homeotic control of Antirrhinum floral organogenesis.
Motte, Patrick ULg; Saedler, H.; Schwarz-Sommer, Z.

in Development (1998), 125(1), 71-84

The identity and developmental pattern of the four organ types constituting the flower is governed by three developmental functions, A, B and C, which are defined by homeotic genes and established in two ... [more ▼]

The identity and developmental pattern of the four organ types constituting the flower is governed by three developmental functions, A, B and C, which are defined by homeotic genes and established in two adjacent whorls. In this report we morphologically and genetically characterise mutants of two genes, STYLOSA (STY) and FISTULATA (FIS) which control floral homeotic meristem- and organ-identity genes and developmental events in all floral whorls. The morphology of the reproductive organs in the first and second whorls of sty fis double mutant flowers indicate that the two genes are part of the mechanism to prevent ectopic expression of the C-function in the perianth of wild-type flowers. This is verified by the detection of the expansion of the expression domain of the class C gene PLENA (PLE) towards the perianth. Interestingly, in the second whorl of sty and fis mutants, spatial differences in stamenoid features and in the pattern of ectopic expression of the PLE gene were observed. This suggests that, with respect to the negative control of PLE, petals are composed of two regions, a lateral and a central one. Mutation in ple is epistatic to most of the sty/fis-related homeotic defects. PLE, however, is not the primary target of STY/FIS control, because dramatic reduction of expression of FIMBRIATA, meristem identity genes (FLORICAULA and SQUAMOSA) and of class B organ identity genes (GLOBOSA) occur before changes in the PLE expression pattern. We propose that STY/FIS are hierarchically high-ranking genes that control cadastral component(s) of the A-function. SQUAMOSA as a potential target of this control is discussed. Retarded growth of second whorl organs, subdivision of third whorl primordia and the failure to initiate them in sty/fis mutants may be mediated by the FIMBRIATA gene. [less ▲]

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See detailFunctional analysis of the Antirrhinum floral homeotic DEFICIENS gene in vivo and in vitro by using a temperature-sensitive mutant.
Zachgo, S.; Silva, E de A; Motte, Patrick ULg et al

in Development (1995), 121(9), 2861-75

Flowers of the temperature-sensitive DEFICIENS (DEF) mutant, def-101, display sepaloid petals and carpelloid stamens when grown at 26 degrees C, the non-permissive temperature. In contrast, when ... [more ▼]

Flowers of the temperature-sensitive DEFICIENS (DEF) mutant, def-101, display sepaloid petals and carpelloid stamens when grown at 26 degrees C, the non-permissive temperature. In contrast, when cultivated under permissive conditions at 15 degrees C, the morphology of def-101 flowers resembles that of the wild type. Temperature shift experiments during early and late phases of flower development revealed that second and third whorl organ development is differentially sensitive to changes in DEF expression. In addition, early DEF expression seems to control the spatially correct initiation of fourth whorl organ development. Reduction of the def-101 gene dosage differentially affects organogenesis in adjacent whorls: at the lower temperature development of petals in the second whorl and initiation of carpels in the centre of the flower is not affected while third whorl organogenesis follows the mutant (carpelloid) pattern. The possible contribution of accessory factors to organ-specific DEF functions is discussed. In situ analyses of mRNA and protein expression patterns during def-101 flower development at 15 degrees C and at 26 degrees C support previously proposed combinatorial regulatory interactions between the MADS-box proteins DEF and GLOBOSA (GLO), and provide evidence that the autoregulatory control of DEF and GLO expression by the DEF/GLO heterodimer starts after initiation of all organ primordia. Immunolocalisation revealed that both proteins are located in the nucleus. Interestingly, higher growth temperature affects the stability of both the DEF-101 and GLO proteins in vivo. In vitro DNA binding studies suggest that the temperature sensitivity of the def-101 mutant is due to an altered heterodimerisation/DNA-binding capability of the DEF-101 protein, conditioned by the deletion of one amino acid within the K-box, a protein region thought to be involved in protein-protein interaction. In addition, we introduce a mutant allele of GLO, glo-confusa, where insertion of one amino acid impairs the hydrophobic carboxy-terminal region of the MADS-box, but which confers no strong phenotypic changes to the flower. The strong mutant phenotype of flowers of def-101/glo-conf double mutants when grown in the cold represents genetic evidence for heterodimerisation between DEF and GLO in vivo. The potential to dissect structural and functional domains of MADS-box transcription factors is discussed. [less ▲]

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