Rxivist combines preprints from bioRxiv with data from Twitter to help you find the papers being discussed in your field. Currently indexing 93,204 bioRxiv papers from 397,841 authors.
Most downloaded bioRxiv papers, all time
in category developmental biology
2,722 results found. For more information, click each entry to expand.
1,453 downloads developmental biology
The Caudal Lateral Epiblast of mammalian embryos harbours bipotent progenitors that contribute to the spinal cord and the paraxial mesoderm in concert with the elongation of the body axis. These progenitors, called Neural Mesodermal Progenitors (NMPs) are identified as cells coexpressing Sox2 and T/Brachyury, a criterion used to derive NMP-like cells from Embryonic Stem Cells in vitro. However, these progenitors do not self renew, as embryonic NMPs do. Here we find that protocols that yield NMP-like cells in vitro first produce a multipotent population that, additional to NMPs, generates progenitors for the lateral plate and intermediate mesoderm. We show that Epiblast Stem Cells (EpiSCs) are an effective source for these multipotent progenitors that are further differentiated by a balance between BMP and Nodal signalling. Importantly, we show that NMP-like cells derived from EpiSCs self renew in vitro and exhibit a gene expression signature similar to that of their embryo counterparts.
1,445 downloads developmental biology
Early mammalian development entails a series of cell fate transitions that includes transit through naive pluripotency to post-implantation epiblast. This subsequently gives rise to primordial germ cells (PGC), the founding population of the germline lineage. To investigate the gene regulatory networks that control these critical cell fate decisions, we developed a compound-reporter system to track cellular identity in a model of PGC specification (PGC-like cells; PGCLC), and coupled it with unbiased genome-wide CRISPR screening. This enabled identification of key genes both for exit from pluripotency and for acquisition of PGC fate, with further characterisation revealing a central role for the transcription factors Nr5a2 and Zfp296 in germline ontogeny. Abrogation of these genes results in significantly impaired PGCLC development due to widespread activation (Nr5a2-/-) or inhibition (Zfp296-/-) of WNT pathway components. This leads to aberrant upregulation of the somatic programme or failure to appropriately activate germline genes in PGCLC, respectively, and consequently loss of germ cell identity. Overall our study places Zfp296 and Nr5a2 as key components of an expanded PGC gene regulatory network, and outlines a transferable strategy for identifying critical regulators of complex cell fate transitions.
1,436 downloads developmental biology
Gene expression studies have typically focused on finding differentially expressed genes or pathways between two or more conditions. More recently, single-cell RNA-seq has been established as a reliable and accessible technique enabling new types of analyses, such as the study of gene expression variation within cell types from cell lines or from relatively similar cells in tissues, organs or tumors. However, although single-cell RNA-seq provides quantitative and comprehensive expression data in a developing embryo, it is not yet clear whether this can replace conventional in situ screens for finding developmentally important genes; moreover, current single-cell data analysis approaches typically cluster cells into types based on a common set of genes or identify more variable or differentially expressed genes using predefined groups of cells, limiting their use for finding genes with novel expression patterns. Here we present a method that comprehensively finds cell-specific patterns of developmentally important regulators directly from single-cell gene expression data of the Ciona embryo, a marine chordate. We recover many of the known expression patterns directly from our single-cell RNA-seq data and despite extensive previous screens, we succeed in finding new cell-specific patterns and genes, which we validate by in situ and single-cell qPCR.
1,433 downloads developmental biology
Lu Han, Praneet Chaturvedi, Keishi Kishimoto, Hiroyuki Koike, Talia Nasr, Kentaro Iwasawa, Kirsten Giesbrecht, Phillip C Witcher, Alexandra Eicher, Lauren Haines, Yarim Lee, John M Shannon, Mitsuru Morimoto, James M. Wells, Takanori Takebe, Aaron M. Zorn
Visceral organs, such as the lungs, stomach, liver and pancreas, are derived from the fetal foregut through a series of inductive interactions between the definitive endoderm (DE) and the surrounding splanchnic mesoderm (SM). While patterning of DE lineages has been fairly well studied, paracrine signaling controlling SM regionalization and how this is coordinated with the epithelial identity during organogenesis is obscure. Here we used single cell transcriptomics to generate a high-resolution cell state map of the embryonic mouse foregut. This uncovered an unexpected diversity in the SM cells that developed in close register with the organ-specific epithelium. From these data, we inferred a spatiotemporal signaling roadmap of the combinatorial endoderm-mesoderm interactions that orchestrate foregut organogenesis. We validated key predictions with mouse genetics, showing the importance of endoderm-derived signals in mesoderm patterning. Finally, leveraging the signaling road map we generated different SM subtypes from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), which previously have been elusive. The single cell data can be explored at: https://research.cchmc.org/ZornLab-singlecell ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.
1,426 downloads developmental biology
Intracellular transcriptional regulators and extracellular signaling pathways together regulate the allocation of cell fates during development, but how their molecular activities are integrated to establish the correct proportions of cells with particular fates is not known. Here we study this question in the context of the decision between the epiblast (Epi) and the primitive endoderm (PrE) fate that occurs in the mammalian preimplantation embryo. Using an embryonic stem (ES) cell model, we discover two successive functions of FGF/MAPK signaling in this decision. First, the pathway needs to be inhibited to make the PrE-like gene expression program accessible for activation by GATA transcription factors in ES cells. In a second step, MAPK signaling levels determine the threshold concentration of GATA factors required for PrE-like differentiation, and thereby control the proportion of cells differentiating along this lineage. Our findings can be explained by a simple mutual repression circuit modulated by FGF/MAPK signaling. This may be a general network architecture to integrate the activity of signal transduction pathways and transcriptional regulators, and serve to balance proportions of cell fates in several contexts.
1,425 downloads developmental biology
Soon after fertilization, the few totipotent cells of mammalian embryos diverge to form a structure called the blastocyst (BC). Although numerous types of cells, including germ cells and extended pluripotency stem cells, have been generated from pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) in-vitro, generating functional BCs only from PSCs has not yet been reported. Here we describe induced self-organizing 3D BC-like structures (iBCs) generated from mouse PSC culture in-vitro. Resembling natural BCs, iBCs have a blastocoel-like cavity and were formed with outer cells that are positive for trophectoderm lineage markers and with inner cells that are positive for pluripotency markers. iBCs transplanted to pseudopregnant mice uteruses implanted, induced decidualization, and exhibited growth and development before resorption, demonstrating that iBCs are implantation-competent. iBC production required the transcription factor Prdm14 and iBC precursor intermediates concomitantly activate the MERVL totipotency related cleavage stage reporter. Thus, our system may contribute to understanding molecular mechanisms underpinning totipotency, embryogenesis, and implantation.
1,419 downloads developmental biology
Fertilization is fundamental for sexual reproduction, yet its molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. Here, we identify an oocyte-expressed Ly6/uPAR protein, which we call Bouncer, as a crucial fertilization factor in zebrafish. We show that membrane-bound Bouncer mediates sperm-egg binding and is thus essential for sperm entry into the egg. Remarkably, Bouncer is not only required for sperm-egg interaction, but also sufficient to allow cross-species fertilization between zebrafish and medaka, two fish species that diverged over 150 million years ago. Our study thus identifies Bouncer as a key determinant of species-specific fertilization in fish. Bouncer's closest homolog in tetrapods, SPACA4, is restricted to the male gonad in internally fertilizing vertebrates, suggesting that our findings in fish have relevance to human biology.
1,418 downloads developmental biology
During gastrulation epiblast cells exit pluripotency as they specify and spatially arrange the three germ layers of the embryo. Similarly, human pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) undergo spatially organized fate specification on micropatterned surfaces. Since in vivo validation is not possible for the human, we developed a mouse PSC micropattern system and, with direct comparisons to mouse embryos, reveal the robust specification of distinct regional identities. BMP, WNT, ACTIVIN and FGF directed mouse epiblast-like cells to undergo an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and radially pattern posterior mesoderm fates. Conversely, WNT, ACTIVIN and FGF patterned anterior identities, including definitive endoderm. By contrast, epiblast stem cells, a developmentally advanced state, only specified anterior identities, but without patterning. The mouse micropattern system offers a robust scalable method to generate regionalized cell types present in vivo, resolve how signals promote distinct identities and generate patterns, and compare mechanisms operating in vivo and in vitro and across species.
1,416 downloads developmental biology
The body of vertebrate embryos forms by posterior elongation from a terminal growth zone called the Tail Bud (TB). The TB produces highly motile cells forming the presomitic mesoderm (PSM), a tissue playing an important role in elongation movements. PSM cells establish an anterior-posterior cell motility gradient which parallels the degradation of a specific cellular signal (Fgf8) known to be implicated in cell motility. Here, we combine electroporation of fluorescent reporters in the PSM to time-lapse imaging in the chicken embryo to quantify cell diffusive movements along the motility gradient. We show that simple microscopic and macroscopic mechano-chemical models for tissue extension that couple Fgf activity, cell motility and tissue rheology at both the cellular and continuum levels suffice to capture the speed and extent of elongation. These observations explain how the continuous addition of cells that exhibit a gradual reduction in motility combined with lateral confinement can be converted into an oriented movement that drives body elongation. The results of the models compare well with our experimental results, with implications for other elongation processes in the embryo.
1,404 downloads developmental biology
Induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSCs), with their unlimited regenerative capacity, carry the promise for tissue replacement to counter age-related decline. However, attempts to realise in vivo iPSC have invariably resulted in the formation of teratomas. Partial reprogramming in prematurely aged mice has shown promising results in alleviating age-related symptoms without teratoma formation. Does partial reprogramming lead to rejuvenation (i.e. "younger" cells), rather than dedifferentiation, which bears the risk of cancer? Here we analyse cellular age during iPSC reprogramming and find that partial reprogramming leads to a reduction in the biological age of cells. We also find that the loss of somatic gene expression and epigenetic age follow different kinetics, suggesting that rejuvenation can be achieved with a minimised risk of cancer.
1,403 downloads developmental biology
Planarian flatworms have an indefinite capacity to regenerate missing or damaged body parts owing to a population of pluripotent adult stems cells called neoblasts (NBs). Currently, little is known about the importance of the epigenetic status of NBs and how histone modifications regulate homeostasis and cellular differentiation. We have developed an improved and optimized ChIP-seq protocol for NBs in Schmidtea mediterranea and have generated genome-wide profiles for the active marks H3K4me3 and H3K36me3, and suppressive marks H3K4me1 and H3K27me3. The genome-wide profiles of these marks were found to correlate well with NB gene expression profiles. We found that genes with little transcriptional activity in the NB compartment but which switch on in post-mitotic progeny during differentiation are bivalent, being marked by both H3K4me3 and H3K27me3 at promoter regions. In further support of this hypothesis bivalent genes also have a high level of paused RNA Polymerase II at the promoter-proximal region. Overall, this study confirms that epigenetic control is important for the maintenance of a NB transcriptional program and makes a case for bivalent promoters as a conserved feature of animal stem cells and not a vertebrate specific innovation. By establishing a robust ChIP-seq protocol and analysis methodology, we further promote planarians as a promising model system to investigate histone modification mediated regulation of stem cell function and differentiation.
1,400 downloads developmental biology
Tissue morphogenesis is driven by local cellular deformations, themselves powered by contractile actomyosin networks. While it is well demonstrated that cell-generated forces at the microscopic scale underlie a variety of local morphogenetic processes (e.g. lengthening/narrowing, bending, or folding), how such local forces are transmitted across tissues to shape them at a mesoscopic scale remains largely unknown. Here, by performing a quantitative analysis of gastrulation in entire avian embryos, we show that the formation of the primitive streak and the associated large-scale rotational tissue flows (i.e. "polonaise movements") are integral parts of a global process that is captured by the laws of fluid mechanics. We identify a large-scale supracellular actomyosin ring (2mm in diameter and 250μm thick) that shapes the embryo by exerting a graded tension along the margin between the embryonic and extra-embryonic territories. Tissue-wide flows arise from the transmission of these localized forces across the embryonic disk and are quantitatively recapitulated by a fluid-mechanical model based on the Stokes equations for viscous flow. We further show that cell division, the main driver of cell rearrangements at this stage, is required for fluid-like behavior and for the progress of gastrulation movements. Our results demonstrate the power of a hydrodynamic approach to tissue-wide morphogenetic processes and provide a simple, unified mechanical picture of amniote gastrulation. A tensile embryo margin, in addition to directing tissue motion, could act as an interface between mechanical and molecular cues, and play a central role in embryonic self-organization.
1,397 downloads developmental biology
In Drosophila larvae, growth and developmental timing are regulated by nutrition in a tightly coordinated fashion. The networks that couple these processes are far from understood. Here, we show that the intestine responds to nutrient availability by regulating production of a circulating lipoprotein-associated form of the signaling protein Hedgehog (Hh). Levels of circulating Hh tune the rates of growth and developmental timing in a coordinated fashion. Circulating Hh signals to the fat body to control larval growth. It regulates developmental timing by controlling ecdysteroid production in the prothoracic gland. Circulating Hh is especially important during starvation, when it is also required for mobilization of fat body triacylglycerol (TAG) stores. Thus, we demonstrate that Hh, previously known only for its local morphogenetic functions, also acts as a lipoprotein-associated endocrine hormone, coordinating the response of multiple tissues to nutrient availability.
1,390 downloads developmental biology
The functions of the transcriptional co-activators YAP and TAZ in bone are controversial. Each has been observed to either promote or inhibit osteogenesis in vitro, while their roles in bone development are unknown. Here we report that combinatorial YAP/TAZ deletion from skeletal cells in mice caused osteogenesis imperfecta with severity dependent on targeted cell lineage and allele dosage. Osteocyte-conditional deletion impaired bone accrual and matrix collagen, while allele dosage-dependent deletion from all osteogenic lineage cells caused spontaneous fractures, with neonatal lethality only in dual homozygous knockouts. We identified putative target genes whose mutation in humans causes osteogenesis imperfecta and which contain promoter-proximate binding domains for the YAP/TAZ co-effector, TEAD4. Two candidates, Col1a1 and SerpinH1, exhibited reduced expression upon either YAP/TAZ deletion or YAP/TAZ-TEAD inhibition by verteporfin. Together, these data demonstrate that YAP and TAZ redundantly promote bone matrix development and implicate YAP/TAZ-mediated transcriptional regulation of collagen in osteogenesis imperfecta.
1,389 downloads developmental biology
Hydra is a member of the Cnidaria, an ancient phylum at the base of metazoan evolution and sister group to all bilaterian animals. The regeneration capacity of Hydra, mediated by its stem cell systems, is unparalleled in the animal kingdom. The recent sequencing of the Hydra genome and that of other cnidarians has drawn new attention to this well-known model organism. In spite of this, the establishment of methods to manipulate gene expression in Hydra have remained a major challenge. Here we report a CRISPR-Cas9 based targeted mutation approach as well as an optimized, reproducible strategy for the delivery of siRNAs. Both approaches are based on a refined electroporation protocol for adult Hydra polyps. We demonstrate that these strategies provide reliable genetic interference with target gene expression, facilitating functional studies and genome editing in Hydra.
1,389 downloads developmental biology
How different organs in the body sense growth perturbations in distant tissues to coordinate their size during development is poorly understood. Here, we mutated an invertebrate orphan relaxin receptor, the Drosophila Lgr3, and found body asymmetries similar to those found in insulin/relaxin-like peptide 8 (dilp8) mutants, which fail to coordinate growth with developmental timing. Indeed, mutation or RNAi against Lgr3 suppresses the delay in pupariation induced by imaginal disc growth perturbation or ectopic Dilp8 expression. By fluorescently-tagging the endogenous Lgr3 protein and performing CNS-specific RNAi, we find that Lgr3 is expressed and required in a novel subset of CNS neurons to transmit the peripheral tissue stress signal, Dilp8, to the neuroendocrine centers controlling developmental timing. Our work sheds new light on the function and evolution of relaxin receptors and reveals a novel neuroendocrine circuit responsive to growth aberrations.
1,385 downloads developmental biology
Precise control and maintenance of the size of cell populations is fundamental for organismal development and homeostasis. The three cell types that comprise the mammalian blastocyst-stage embryo are generated in precise proportions and over a short time, suggesting a size control mechanism ensures a reproducible outcome. Guided by experimental observations, we developed a minimal mathematical model that shows growth factor signaling is sufficient to guarantee this robustness. The model anticipates, without additional parameter fitting, the response of the embryo to perturbations in its lineage composition. We experimentally added lineage-restricted cells to the epiblast both in vivo and in silico , which resulted in a shift of the fate of progenitors away from the supernumerary cell type, while eliminating cells using laser ablation biased the specification of progenitors towards the targeted cell type. Finally, we show that FGF4 couples cell fate decisions to lineage composition through changes in local concentration of the growth factor. Our results provide a basis for the regulative abilities of the mammalian embryo and reveal how, in a self-organizing system, individual cell fate decisions are coordinated at the population level to robustly generate tissues in the right proportions.
1,383 downloads developmental biology
Turing patterns (TPs) underlie many fundamental developmental processes, but they operate over narrow parameter ranges, raising the conundrum of how evolution can ever discover them. Here we explore TP design space to address this question and to distill design rules. We exhaustively analyze 2- and 3-node biological candidate Turing systems: crucially, network structure alone neither determines nor guarantees emergent TPs. A surprisingly large fraction (>60%) of network design space can produce TPs, but these are sensitive to even subtle changes in parameters, network structure and regulatory mechanisms. This implies that TP networks are more common than previously thought, and evolution might regularly encounter prototypic solutions. Importantly, we deduce compositional rules for TP systems that are almost necessary and sufficient (≈96% of TP networks contain them, and ≈95% of networks implementing them produce TPs). This comprehensive network atlas provides the blueprints for identifying natural TPs, and for engineering synthetic systems.
1,375 downloads developmental biology
The Drosophila wing disc has been a fundamental model system for the discovery of key signaling pathways and for our understanding of developmental processes. However, a complete map of gene expression in this tissue is lacking. To obtain a complete gene expression atlas in the wing disc, we employed single-cell sequencing (scRNA-seq) and developed a new method for analyzing scRNA-seq data based on gene expression correlations rather than cell mappings. This enables us to discover 824 genes with spatially restricted expression patterns, and to compute expression maps for all genes in the wing disc. This approach identifies both known and new clusters of genes with similar expression patterns and functional relevance. As proof of concept, we characterize the previously unstudied gene CG5151 and show it regulates Wnt signaling. This novel method will enable the leveraging of scRNA-seq data for generating expression atlases of undifferentiated tissues during development.
1,353 downloads developmental biology
Murine muscle stem cells (MuSCs) experience a transition from quiescence to activation that is required for regeneration, but it remains unclear if the transition states and rates of activation are uniform across cells, or how features of this process may change with age. Here, we use timelapse imaging and single cell RNA-seq to measure activation trajectories and rates in young and aged MuSCs. We find that the activation trajectory is conserved in aged cells, and develop effective machine learning classifiers for cell age. Using cell behavior analysis and RNA velocity, we find that activation kinetics are delayed in aged MuSCs, suggesting that changes in stem cell dynamics may contribute to impaired stem cell function with age. Intriguingly, we also find that stem cell activation appears to be a random walk like process, with frequent reversals, rather than a continuous, linear progression. These results support a view of the aged stem cell phenotype as a combination of differences in the location of stable cell states and differences in transition rates between them.
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