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Presenilins 1 and 2 (PS1 and PS2) are the catalytic subunits of the γ-secretase complex, and genes encoding mutant PS1 and PS2 variants cause familial forms of Alzheimer's disease. Lee et al. (2010) recently reported that loss of PS1 activity lead to impairments in autophagosomal function as a consequence of lysosomal alkalinization, caused by failed maturation of the proton translocating V0a1 subunit of the vacuolar (H+)-ATPase and targeting to the lysosome. We have reexamined these issues in mammalian cells and in brains of mice lacking PS (PScdko) and have been unable to find evidence that the turnover of autophagic substrates, vesicle pH, V0a1 maturation, or lysosome function is altered compared with wild-type counterparts. Collectively, our studies fail to document a role for presenilins in regulating cellular autophagosomal function. On the other hand, our transcriptome studies of PScdko mouse brains reveal, for the first time, a role for PS in regulating lysosomal biogenesis.
The objective was to study the expression of zonula occludens-2, a tight junction protein, during preimplantation hamster embryonic development, to predict its possible localization, source, and roles in trophectoderm differentiation and blastocyst formation in this species. Comparison of zonula occludens-2 expression pattern between the hamster and mouse preimplantation embryos from the zygote up to the blastocyst stage was also an objective of this study. Zonula occludens-2 localization was noted in nuclei of blastomeres in all stages of hamster and mouse embryonic development. Compared to mice, where zonula occludens-2 was first localized in the interblastomere membrane at the morula stage, hamster embryos had membranous zonula occludens-2 localization from the 2-cell stage onwards. Based on combined results of immunolocalization study in parthenogenic embryos and ovarian and epididymal sections, and quantitative PCR done in oocytes and all developmental stages of preimplantation embryos, perhaps there was a carry-over of zonula occludens-2 proteins or mRNA from the dam to the embryo. Based on these findings, we inferred that maternally derived zonula occludens-2 was involved in nuclear functions, as well as differentiation of blastomeres and blastocoel formation during preimplantation embryonic development in the hamster.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Control of integrin activation is required for cell adhesion and ligand-induced signaling. Here we report that loss of the focal adhesion protein Kindlin-2 in mice results in peri-implantation lethality caused by severe detachment of the endoderm and epiblast from the basement membrane. We found that Kindlin-2-deficient cells were unable to activate their integrins and that Kindlin-2 is required for talin-induced integrin activation. Furthermore, we demonstrate that Kindlin-2 is required for integrin outside-in signaling to enable firm adhesion and spreading. Our findings provide evidence that Kindlin-2 is a novel and essential element of bidirectional integrin signaling.
The mammalian embryo is encased in a glycoproteinaceous coat, the zona pellucida (ZP) during preimplantation development. Prior to implantation, the blastocyst must undergo 'hatching' or ZP escape. In hamsters, there is a thinning of the ZP followed by a focal lysis and a complete dissolution of the ZP during blastocyst hatching. Earlier studies from our laboratory have indicated a role for cysteine proteases in the hatching phenomenon. In this study, we tested the effect of specific inhibitors of the three classes of cysteine protease on blastocyst hatching. Cystatin, an endogenous cathepsin inhibitor, blocked blastocyst hatching. Similarly, Fmoc-Tyr-Ala-diazomethane, a synthetic cathepsin inhibitor, blocked hatching. Both showed dose-dependent and temporal inhibition of hatching. However, Z-Val-Ala-Asp-fluoromethylketone, a synthetic caspase inhibitor, and calpastatin, an endogenous calpain inhibitor, had no effect on hatching. The cathepsins were localized to blastocyst cells. Exogenous addition of cathepsins L, P or B to cultured 8-cell embryos caused a complete ZP dissolution. The expression of mRNA and protein of cathepsins L and P was observed in peri-hatching blastocysts. Cathepsins L and P were detected in trophectodermal projections and in the ZP of peri-hatching blastocysts. These data provide the first evidence that blastocyst-derived cathepsins are functionally involved as zonalytic factors in the hatching of blastocysts in the golden hamster.
It is unknown whether or not tight junction formation plays any role in morula to blastocyst transformation that is associated with development of polarized trophoblast cells and fluid accumulation. Tight junctions are a hallmark of polarized epithelial cells and zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1) is a known key regulator of tight junction formation. Here we show that ZO-1 protein is first expressed during compaction of 8-cell embryos. This stage-specific appearance of ZO-1 suggests its participation in morula to blastocyst transition. Consistent with this idea, we demonstrate that ZO-1 siRNA delivery inside the blastomeres of zona-weakened embryos using electroporation not only knocks down ZO-1 gene and protein expressions, but also inhibits morula to blastocyst transformation in a concentration-dependent manner. In addition, ZO-1 inactivation reduced the expression of Cdx2 and Oct-4, but not ZO-2 and F-actin. These results provide the first evidence that ZO-1 is involved in blastocyst formation from the morula by regulating accumulation of fluid and differentiation of nonpolar blastomeres to polar trophoblast cells.
A reciprocal interaction between the implantation-competent blastocyst and receptive uterus is an absolute requirement for implantation, a process crucial for pregnancy success. A comprehensive understanding of this interaction has yet to be realized. One major difficulty in clearly defining this discourse is the complexity of the implantation process involving heterogeneous cell types of both the uterus and blastocyst, each endowed with unique molecular signatures that show dynamic changes during the course of pregnancy. Whereas gene expression studies by in situ hybridization or immunohistochemistry have shown differential expression patterns of specific genes during implantation, there is no report how numerous signaling proteins are spatially displayed at specific times and stages of implantation in the context of blastocyst-uterine juxtaposition. Using in situ imaging (matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization) mass spectrometry directly on uterine sections, here we provide molecular composition, relative abundance, and spatial distribution of a large number of proteins during the periimplantation period. This approach has allowed us for the first time to generate in situ proteome profiles of implantation and interimplantation sites in mice in a region- and stage-specific manner with the progression of implantation. This application is reliable because patterns of expression of several proteins displayed by in situ imaging mass spectrometry correlate well with in situ hybridization results. More interestingly, the use of this approach has provided new insights regarding uterine biology of cytosolic phospholipase A(2alpha) null females that show implantation defects.
Mammalian mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is inherited principally down the maternal line, but the mechanisms involved are not fully understood. Females harboring a mixture of mutant and wild-type mtDNA (heteroplasmy) transmit a varying proportion of mutant mtDNA to their offspring. In humans with mtDNA disorders, the proportion of mutated mtDNA inherited from the mother correlates with disease severity. Rapid changes in allele frequency can occur in a single generation. This could be due to a marked reduction in the number of mtDNA molecules being transmitted from mother to offspring (the mitochondrial genetic bottleneck), to the partitioning of mtDNA into homoplasmic segregating units, or to the selection of a group of mtDNA molecules to re-populate the next generation. Here we show that the partitioning of mtDNA molecules into different cells before and after implantation, followed by the segregation of replicating mtDNA between proliferating primordial germ cells, is responsible for the different levels of heteroplasmy seen in the offspring of heteroplasmic female mice.
Epigenetic mechanisms, such as histone modifications and DNA methylation, have been shown to play a key role in the regulation of gene transcription. Results of recent studies indicate that a novel "bivalent" chromatin structure marks key developmental genes in embryonic stem cells (ESCs), wherein a number of untranscribed lineage-control genes, such as Sox1, Nkx2-2, Msx1, Irx3, and Pax3, are epigenetically modified with a unique combination of activating and repressive histone modifications that prime them for potential activation (or repression) upon cell lineage induction and differentiation. However, results of these studies also showed that a subset of lineage-control genes, such as Myf5 and Mash1, were not marked by these histone modifications, suggesting that distinct epigenetic mechanisms might exist for lineage-control genes in ESCs. In this review article, we summarize evidence regarding possible mechanisms that control these unique histone modifications at lineage-control gene loci in ESCs and consider their possible contribution to ESC pluripotency. In addition, we propose a novel "histone modification pulsing" model wherein individual pluripotent stem cells within the inner cell mass of blastocysts undergo transient asynchronous histone modifications at these developmental gene loci, thereby conferring differential responsiveness to environmental cues and morphogenic gradients important for cell lineage determination. Finally, we consider how these rapid histone modification exchanges become progressively more stable as ESCs undergo differentiation and maturation into specialized cell lineages.
Implantation occurs only in the progesterone (P4)-primed uterus in the majority of species, but little effort has been given to identify P4-mediated molecules in these species. Using hamsters as a model for P4-dependent implantation and three well-known uterine receptivity-associated P4-regulated genes, Indian hedgehog (Ihh), histidine decarboxylase (Hdc), and amphiregulin (Areg), in mice that require ovarian estrogen for uterine receptivity and implantation, our strategy aimed to determine whether P4 regulates uterine expression of these genes in hamsters and whether the event- and cell-specific uterine expression patterns of these genes during the periimplantation period in hamsters follow similarly with their patterns in mice. We report here that P4-mediated Ihh signaling is important for uterine receptivity and implantation in hamsters because uterine epithelial Ihh expression was regulated by P4 and its expression patterns during the periimplantation period of hamsters closely follow its pattern in mice. In contrast, we noted no hormonal regulation of Hdc and Areg in the hamster uterus. However, this did not diminish their importance in hamsters because their expression patterns and functions are event and cell specific during the periimplantation period: whereas Hdc was expressed exclusively in d 4 uterine glands and regulated by the blastocyst, Areg was expressed on the decidual area adjacent to the embryo from d 5 onward and involved in stromal cell proliferation. We conclude that similarities and dissimilarities exist in uterine expression pattern of implantation-related genes, including hormonal regulation and their event-specific importance.