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The goal of this protocol is to describe a method for the dissection of mouse embryos and visualization of embryonic mouse ventricular chambers during heart development using ventricular specific fluorescent reporter knock-in mice (MLC-2v-tdTomato mice). Heart development involves a linear heart tube formation, the heart tube looping, and four chamber septation. These complex processes are highly conserved in all vertebrates. The mouse embryonic heart has been widely used for heart developmental studies. However, due to their extremely small size, dissecting mouse embryonic hearts is technically challenging. In addition, visualization of cardiac chamber formation often needs in situ hybridization, beta-galactosidase staining using LacZ reporter mice, or immunostaining of sectioned embryonic hearts. Here, we describe how to dissect mouse embryonic hearts and directly visualize ventricular chamber formation of MLC-2v-tdTomato mice using whole mount epifluorescent microscopy. With this method, it is possible to directly examine heart tube formation and looping, and four chamber formation without further experimental manipulation of mouse embryos. Although the MLC-2v-tdTomato reporter knock-in mouse line is used in this protocol as an example, this protocol can be applied to other heart-specific fluorescent reporter transgenic mouse lines.
BACKGROUND & AIMS - The Onecut 1 transcription factor (Oc1, a.k.a. HNF6) promotes differentiation of endocrine and duct cells of the pancreas; however, it has no known role in acinar cell differentiation. We sought to better understand the role of Oc1 in exocrine pancreas development and to identify its direct transcriptional targets.
METHODS - Pancreata from Oc1 (Oc1;Pdx1-Cre) mouse embryos and neonates were analyzed morphologically. High-throughput RNA-sequencing was performed on control and Oc1-deficient pancreas; chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing was performed on wild-type embryonic mouse pancreata to identify direct Oc1 transcriptional targets. Immunofluorescence labeling was used to confirm the RNA-sequencing /chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing results and to further investigate the effects of Oc1 loss on acinar cells.
RESULTS - Loss of Oc1 from the developing pancreatic epithelium resulted in disrupted duct and acinar cell development. RNA-sequencing revealed decreased expression of acinar cell regulatory factors (Nr5a2, Ptf1a, Gata4, Mist1) and functional genes (Amylase, Cpa1, Prss1, Spink1) at embryonic day (e) 18.5 in Oc1 samples. Approximately 1000 of the altered genes were also identified as direct Oc1 targets by chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing, including most of the previously noted genes. By immunolabeling, we confirmed that Amylase, Mist1, and GATA4 protein levels are significantly decreased by P2, and Spink1 protein levels were significantly reduced and mislocalized. The pancreatic duct regulatory factors Hnf1β and FoxA2 were also identified as direct Oc1 targets.
CONCLUSIONS - These findings confirm that Oc1 is an important regulator of both duct and acinar cell development in the embryonic pancreas. Novel transcriptional targets of Oc1 have now been identified and provide clarity into the mechanisms of Oc1 transcriptional regulation in the developing exocrine pancreas. Oc1 can now be included in the gene-regulatory network of acinar cell regulatory genes. Oc1 regulates other acinar cell regulatory factors and acinar cell functional genes directly, and it can also regulate some acinar cell regulatory factors (eg, Mist1) indirectly. Oc1 therefore plays an important role in acinar cell development.
Copyright © 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The mammalian brain undergoes sexual differentiation by gonadal hormones during the perinatal critical period. However, the machinery at earlier stages has not been well studied. We found that Ptf1a is expressed in certain neuroepithelial cells and immature neurons around the third ventricle that give rise to various neurons in several hypothalamic nuclei. We show that conditional Ptf1a-deficient mice (Ptf1a cKO) exhibit abnormalities in sex-biased behaviors and reproductive organs in both sexes. Gonadal hormone administration to gonadectomized animals revealed that the abnormal behavior is caused by disorganized sexual development of the knockout brain. Accordingly, expression of sex-biased genes was severely altered in the cKO hypothalamus. In particular, Kiss1, important for sexual differentiation of the brain, was drastically reduced in the cKO hypothalamus, which may contribute to the observed phenotypes in the Ptf1a cKO. These findings suggest that forebrain Ptf1a is one of the earliest regulators for sexual differentiation of the brain.
Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
DA closure is crucial for the transition from fetal to neonatal life. This closure is supported by changes to the DA's signaling and structural properties that distinguish it from neighboring vessels. Examining transcriptional differences between these vessels is key to identifying genes or pathways responsible for DA closure. Several microarray studies have explored the DA transcriptome in animal models but varied experimental designs have led to conflicting results. Thorough transcriptomic analysis of the human DA has yet to be performed. A clear picture of the DA transcriptome is key to guiding future research endeavors, both to allow more targeted treatments in the clinical setting, and to understand the basic biology of DA function. In this review, we use a cross-species cross-platform analysis to consider all available published rodent microarray data and novel human RNAseq data in order to provide high priority candidate genes for consideration in future DA studies.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Chromophobe renal cell carcinoma (ChRCC) is characterized by major changes in chromosomal copy number (CN). No model is available to precisely elucidate the molecular drivers of this tumor type. HNF1B is a master regulator of gene expression. Here, we report that the transcription factor HNF1B is downregulated in the majority of ChRCC and that the magnitude of loss is unique to ChRCC. We also observed a strong correlation between reduced expression and aneuploidy in ChRCC patients. In murine embryonic fibroblasts or ACHN cells, deficiency reduced expression of the spindle checkpoint proteins MAD2L1 and BUB1B, and the cell-cycle checkpoint proteins RB1 and p27. Furthermore, it altered the chromatin accessibility of , , and genes and triggered aneuploidy development. Analysis of The Cancer Genome Atlas database revealed mutations in 33% of ChRCC where expression was repressed. In clinical specimens, combining loss with mutation produced an association with poor patient prognosis. In cells, combining loss and mutation increased cell proliferation and aneuploidy. Our results show how loss leads to abnormal mitotic protein regulation and induction of aneuploidy. We propose that coordinate loss of and may enhance cellular survival and confer an aggressive phenotype in ChRCC. .
©2017 American Association for Cancer Research.
EGF receptor (EGFR) is a critical signaling node throughout life. However, it has not been possible to directly visualize endogenous Egfr in mice. Using CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing, we appended a fluorescent reporter to the C terminus of the Egfr. Homozygous reporter mice appear normal and EGFR signaling is intact in vitro and in vivo. We detect distinct patterns of Egfr expression in progenitor and differentiated compartments in embryonic and adult mice. Systemic delivery of EGF or amphiregulin results in markedly different patterns of Egfr internalization and trafficking in hepatocytes. In the normal intestine, Egfr localizes to the crypt rather than villus compartment, expression is higher in adjacent epithelium than in intestinal tumors, and following colonic injury expression appears in distinct cell populations in the stroma. This reporter, under control of its endogenous regulatory elements, enables in vivo monitoring of the dynamics of Egfr localization and trafficking in normal and disease states.
Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Characterizing the functional impact of novel mutations linked to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) provides a deeper mechanistic understanding of the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms. Here we show that a Glu183 to Val (E183V) mutation in the CaMKIIα catalytic domain, identified in a proband diagnosed with ASD, decreases both CaMKIIα substrate phosphorylation and regulatory autophosphorylation, and that the mutated kinase acts in a dominant-negative manner to reduce CaMKIIα-WT autophosphorylation. The E183V mutation also reduces CaMKIIα binding to established ASD-linked proteins, such as Shank3 and subunits of l-type calcium channels and NMDA receptors, and increases CaMKIIα turnover in intact cells. In cultured neurons, the E183V mutation reduces CaMKIIα targeting to dendritic spines. Moreover, neuronal expression of CaMKIIα-E183V increases dendritic arborization and decreases both dendritic spine density and excitatory synaptic transmission. Mice with a knock-in CaMKIIα-E183V mutation have lower total forebrain CaMKIIα levels, with reduced targeting to synaptic subcellular fractions. The CaMKIIα-E183V mice also display aberrant behavioral phenotypes, including hyperactivity, social interaction deficits, and increased repetitive behaviors. Together, these data suggest that CaMKIIα plays a previously unappreciated role in ASD-related synaptic and behavioral phenotypes. Many autism spectrum disorder (ASD)-linked mutations disrupt the function of synaptic proteins, but no single gene accounts for >1% of total ASD cases. The molecular networks and mechanisms that couple the primary deficits caused by these individual mutations to core behavioral symptoms of ASD remain poorly understood. Here, we provide the first characterization of a mutation in the gene encoding CaMKIIα linked to a specific neuropsychiatric disorder. Our findings demonstrate that this ASD-linked mutation disrupts multiple CaMKII functions, induces synaptic deficits, and causes ASD-related behavioral alterations, providing novel insights into the synaptic mechanisms contributing to ASD.
Copyright © 2017 the authors 0270-6474/17/372217-18$15.00/0.
The transcription factor Pdx1 is required for multiple aspects of pancreatic organogenesis. It remains unclear to what extent Pdx1 expression and function depend upon trans-activation through 5' conserved cis-regulatory regions and, in particular, whether the mammal-specific Area II (-2139 to -1958 bp) affects minor or major aspects of organogenesis. We show that Area II is a primary effector of endocrine-selective transcription in epithelial multipotent cells, nascent endocrine progenitors, and differentiating and mature β cells in vivo Pdx1 mice exhibit a massive reduction in endocrine progenitor cells and progeny hormone-producing cells, indicating that Area II activity is fundamental to mounting an effective endocrine lineage-specification program within the multipotent cell population. Creating an Area II-deleted state within already specified Neurog3-expressing endocrine progenitor cells increased the proportion of glucagon α relative to insulin β cells, associated with the transcriptional and epigenetic derepression of the α-cell-determining Arx gene in endocrine progenitors. There were also glucagon and insulin co-expressing cells, and β cells that were incapable of maturation. Creating the Pdx1 state after cells entered an insulin-expressing stage led to immature and dysfunctional islet β cells carrying abnormal chromatin marking in vital β-cell-associated genes. Therefore, trans-regulatory integration through Area II mediates a surprisingly extensive range of progenitor and β-cell-specific Pdx1 functions.
© 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
Pdx1 and Oc1 are co-expressed in multipotent pancreatic progenitors and regulate the pro-endocrine gene Neurog3. Their expression diverges in later organogenesis, with Oc1 absent from hormone+ cells and Pdx1 maintained in mature β cells. In a classical genetic test for cooperative functional interactions, we derived mice with combined Pdx1 and Oc1 heterozygosity. Endocrine development in double-heterozygous pancreata was normal at embryonic day (E)13.5, but defects in specification and differentiation were apparent at E15.5, the height of the second wave of differentiation. Pancreata from double heterozygotes showed alterations in the expression of genes crucial for β-cell development and function, decreased numbers and altered allocation of Neurog3-expressing endocrine progenitors, and defective endocrine differentiation. Defects in islet gene expression and β-cell function persisted in double heterozygous neonates. These results suggest that Oc1 and Pdx1 cooperate prior to their divergence, in pancreatic progenitors, to allow for proper differentiation and functional maturation of β cells.
Published by Elsevier Inc.
BACKGROUND - The CRISPR/Cas9 system is increasingly used for gene inactivation in mouse zygotes, but homology-directed mutagenesis and use of inbred embryos are less established. In particular, Rosa26 knock-in alleles for the insertion of transgenes in a genomic 'safe harbor' site, have not been produced. Here we applied CRISPR/Cas9 for the knock-in of 8-11 kb inserts into Rosa26 of C57BL/6 zygotes.
RESULTS - We found that 10-20 % of live pups derived from microinjected zygotes were founder mutants, without apparent off-target effects, and up to 50 % knock-in embryos were recovered upon coinjection of Cas9 mRNA and protein. Using this approach, we established a new mouse line for the Cre/loxP-dependent expression of Cas9.
CONCLUSIONS - Altogether, our protocols and resources support the fast and direct generation of new Rosa26 knock-in alleles and of Cas9-mediated in vivo gene editing in the widely used C57BL/6 inbred strain.